Wilson Center Experts

Gretchen Helmke

Fellow
Latin American Program

Expertise:
Latin America
Affiliation:
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Rochester
Wilson Center Project(s):
"Institutions on the Edge: Inter-Branch Crises in Latin America"
Term:
Sep 01, 2010
-
May 01, 2011

I am Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2000. I have received fellowships from the Weatherhead Center for International and Area Studies at Harvard University and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. I have published numerous articles on comparative political institutions, the rule of law, and Latin American politics. My books include: Courts Under Constraints: Judges, Generals, and Presidents in Argentina (Cambridge University Press 2005), Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America (co-edited with Steven Levitsky, Johns Hopkins University Press 2006), and Courts in Latin America (co-edited with Julio Rios-Figueroa, forthcoming). I am currently working on a book manuscript on the origins of institutional instability and inter-branch crises in Latin America.
 

Education

B.A. (1993) Political Science, University of California at Berkeley; M.A. (1994) University of California at Berkeley; Ph.D. (2000) Political Science, University of Chicago
 

Experience

  • Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Rochester, 2008-Present
  • Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Rochester, 2002-2008
  • Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Notre Dame, 2001-2002
  • Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Rochester, 2001

Expertise

Comparative political institutions; comparative law; Latin American politics

Project Summary

Institutional instability plagues contemporary Latin America. From Peru in 1992, to Venezuela in 1999, to Honduras today, the region is rife with examples of institutional crisis and collapse. My research project aims to explain the emergence, evolution, and consequences of institutional crises in Latin America. Using quantitative and qualitative analyses of an original dataset on inter-branch crises in eighteen Latin American countries between 1985-2009, I explore several hypotheses about when, why, and which institutions are most at risk. My project thus provides important insight into one of the most fundamental challenges facing Latin America.

Major Publications

  • Courts in Latin America, co-editor with Julio Rios-Figueroa. New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  • Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America, co-editor with Steven Levitsky. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.
  • Courts under Constraints: Judges, Generals, and Presidents in Argentina. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Stay in Touch

Are you a Wilson Center alumnus? We want to hear about your latest move, award or project. Please send us your news at alumni@wilsoncenter.org.

Experts & Staff