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Gilles Serra

Professor in Political Science, CIDE

Residency: September 2019 – June 2020

Research Project: A Complex Market to Buy Votes: The Shifting Allegiance of Clientelistic Brokers in Contemporary Mexico

Research Interests: Latin America, democracy, elections, political parties


Gilles Serra has been a professor of politics at CIDE since 2010. Previously, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Nuffield College in the University of Oxford. Serra received an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard University and received a B.S. in applied mathematics and a B.A. in economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

Serra main fields of research are elections, political parties, candidates and campaigns. His primary region of interest is Latin America with a special focus on Mexico, as well as an enduring interest in U.S. politics. Serra’s work relies significantly on formal mathematical modeling as well as qualitative empirical research. Substantively, he has three lines of research. First, analyzing the methods used by political parties to select their candidates, such as primary elections. Second, evaluating the problems of new democracies such as vote-buying, and whether they can be addressed through legal electoral reform. And third, studying the electoral effects of different characteristics of candidates such as their left-right ideology, their charisma, and their level of populism.

Publications from this research have appeared in the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Theoretical Politics, Electoral Studies, the Journal of Politics in Latin America, and Política y Gobierno. Serra’s research has been funded by several institutions, including the National Bureau of Economic Research; the Social Science Research Council; and the Ford, McArthur and Hewlett foundations.