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Hannah Baron

Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, Brown University

Residency: September 2021 – May 2022; September 2022 – May 2023

Research Project: In Pursuit of Justice: Vigilantism, Policing, and Rights in Mexico

Research Interests: Violence, criminal justice, human rights, judicial reforms, vigilantism, policing, research ethics, democratic erosion


Hannah Baron is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Brown University. Her research examines policing, vigilantism and justice attitudes in contexts of high crime and weak rule of law. Her dissertation asks: Under what conditions do citizens condone human rights violations in efforts to combat crime? What explains citizen support for vigilante punishments? And how can rights-protecting criminal justice policies gain public support in contexts of ongoing conflict? She uses multiple methods to answer these questions, including in-depth qualitative interviews, focus group discussions, large-scale survey data and survey experiments.

Baron’s collaborative work on these topics include a field experiment involving citizen deliberations on crime and justice policies in Morelia, Michoacán, and an original dataset, in progress, on contemporary lynchings in Mexico. She also co-coordinates the Democratic Erosion consortium. The consortium helps students and faculty evaluate threats to democracy both at home and abroad through the lens of theory, history, and social science, and spans over 50 universities in multiple countries. Baron earned her bachelor’s degree in Romance Languages and Literatures, and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from Harvard College, magna cum laude.