Jessie Bullock

Rio de Janeiro's North Zone of the city. Taken in 2017.

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University, studying Comparative Politics and Political Economy. In Fall 2022 I will start a postdoctoral fellowship with the Political Theory Project at Brown University, and in Fall 2023 will begin a position as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Citizenship.


My work spans comparative politics and political economy, with a substantive focus on crime, violence, inequality, and corruption. My book project, Machine Gun Politics: Why Politicians Cooperate with Criminal Groups, explains what politicians can gain from partnering with criminal actors. I leverage a quasi-experimental study of voting, an original database on criminal governance, and 18 months of extensive fieldwork in this mixed-methods study of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Working papers drawing from my dissertation have recently won awards from the American Political Science Association (APSA), Latin American Studies Association (LASA), and the Public Choice Society.

Another recent body of work focuses on the implications of public security on inequality and violence. My paper, Limiting Aggressive Policing Can Reduce Police and Civilian Violence (forthcoming in World Development), was referenced in Brazilian Supreme Court testimony regarding the legality of police raids, and I have authored op-eds in both English and Portuguese about the takeaways from various police reforms. 

I am the recipient of a 2019 Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Dissertation Writing Fellowship and the 2018 recipient of the Jorge Paulo Lemann Traveling Fellowship to Brazil. My field work has generously been supported by the Corporación Andino de Fomiento (CAF), David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), the Harvard Brazil Cities Initiative, and the Foundations of Human Behavior Initiative (FHB). I am a current graduate student affiliate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences.