Ezequiel González Ocantos
(Ph.D. (Notre Dame); MPhil, BA Hons (Cambridge))
I'm the Associate Professor in the Qualitative Study of Comparative Political Institutions in the Department of Politics and International Relations, and a Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College. I am interested in understanding the impact of international human rights law in domestic judicial politics. My bookShifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America (Cambridge University Press) shows that the diffision of international legal ideas by local activists explains why some Latin American judiciaries chose to decisively punish those responsible for serious human rights violations perpetrated during dictatorships and armed conflicts. The book has won several awards: the Herman Pritchett Best Book Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association; the Best Book Award from the Human Rights Section of the International Studies Association; and the Donna Lee Van Cott Best Book Award from the Political Institutions Section of the Latin American Studies Association. Part of this research also appeared in Comparative Politics (July 2014) in an article entitled 'Persuade Them or Oust Them: Crafting Judicial Change and Transitional Justice in Argentina.' I've also published about the impact of human rights trials on public opinion in The International Journal of Human Rights.
I am currently working on two new projects. The first one tries to explain the influence of the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights among Latin American high courts. The goal is to identify the conditions under which international courts find reliable partners among domestic judges, and trace the processes whereby international jurisprudence becomes a routine reference point for local courts. This form of transjudicial communication has important implications, not only for the power of international courts, but also for the effectiveness of human rights norms. The second project, in collaboration with Nara Pavao from the University of Pernambuco (Brazil), examines the consequences of anti-corruption judicial activism in Latin America. Specifically, we are interested in studying how these assertions of judicial power affect mass attitudes such as tolerance for corruption and political cynicism. To do so we rely on a variety of survey experiments.
I have also co-authored a series of papers on the political economy of vote buying and intimidation during electoral campaigns. Using original post-electoral survey data from several Latin American countries, our work explores the extent of these practices, what citizens think about them, and who gets targeted by parties. Some of our findings appeared in two articles published in the American Journal of Political Science, 'Vote Buying and Social Desirability Bias: Experimental Evidence from Nicaragua' (January 2012) and 'The Conditionality of Vote Buying Norms: Experimental Evidence from Latin America' (January 2014), in a paper in Comparative Political Studies (July 2015), and in a forthcoming piece in the Latin American Research Review.
I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. My thesis won APSA's 2013 Edward S. Corwin Award for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of Public Law. Before coming to Oxford I was an Assistant Professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City.
Curriculum vitae: Download Gonzalezocantos Cv (127.2KB)
Comparative Judicial Politics
The Interamerican System of Human Rights
Comparative Politics of Latin America
Political Economy of Clientelism
Qualitative Methods in Political ScienceHuman rights Constitutions and Government Democracy and Democratisation Elections Institutions and organisations
Advanced Qualitative Methods
I am happy to supervise students interested in comparative judicial politics, human rights, electoral corruption, qualitative methods and Latin American politics
Winner of the 2017 H. Pritchett Best Book Award, American Political Science Association, Law and Courts Section
Winner of the 2017 Donna Lee Van Cott Best Book Award, Latin American Studies Association, Political Institutions Section
2018. "Remittances and Vote Buying: Experimental Evidence from El Salvador," in Latin American Research Review (with Chad Kiewiet de Jonge and Covadonga Meseguer)
2016. "Evaluations of Human Rights Trials and Trust in Judicial Institutions: Evidence from Fujimori’s Trial in Peru," in The International Journal of Human Rights, 20(4): 445-470
2015. "Legitimacy Buying: The Dynamics of Clientelism in the Face of Legitimacy Challenges," in Comparative Political Studies, 48(9):1127-1158 (with Chad Kiewiet de Jonge and David Nickerson)
2014. "Persuade Them or Oust Them: Crafting Judicial Change and Transitional Justice in Argentina," in Comparative Politics, 46(4):279-298
2014. "The Conditionality of Vote Buying Norms: Experimental Evidence from Latin America," in American Journal of Political Science, 58(1):197-211 (with Chad Kiewiet de Jonge and David Nickerson)
2012. "Vote Buying and Social Desirability Bias: Experimental Evidence from Nigaragua," in American Journal of Political Science, 56(1):202-217 (with Chad Kiewiet de Jonge, Carlos Melendez, Javier Osorio and David Nickerson)
Forthcoming. “Political Clientelism,” in W. Outhwaite & S. Turner eds. The SAGE Handbook of Political Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE (with Paula Muñoz)
Forthcoming. “Electoral Fraud,” in E. Posada-Carbó & A. Robertson eds. The Oxford Handbook of Revolutionary Elections in the Americas. Oxford: Oxford University Press (with Svitlana Chernykh)
2015. “Dependencia y Autonomía,” in M. D’Alessandro & G. Ippolito-O’Donnell eds. La ciencia política de Guillermo O’Donnell. Buenos Aires, Argentina: EUDEBA
2010. “Crisis de gobernabilidad en América Latina: Juegos verticales y horizontales,” in F. Barrero & S. Jost eds. Estabilidad democrática en América Latina: Equilibrio de poderes, perspectivas teóricas. Bogotá, Colombia: Fondo Editorial de la Universidad Sergio Arboleda. (with Carlos Meléndez)
Commissioned academic reports:
2012. Aproximación a las percepciones de la ciudadanía sobre la compra de votos y la intimidación de votantes en el régimen político guatemalteco. Cdad. de Guatemala, Guatemala: National Democratic Institute. (with Carlos Meléndez, Chad Kiewiet de Jonge, Javier Osorio and David Nickerson)
“International Courts as Communicative Entrepreneurs: Transjudicial Dialogue in the Inter-American System of Human Rights,” R&R
“International Law and Domestic Judicial Power: Strategic Citation in the Jurisprudence of Colombia’s Constitutional Court” (with Niels Goet)
"Public Reactions to the UK Supreme Court's Brexit Decision: Evidence from an Online Survey Experiment" (with Elias Dinas), under review
“Creating Something Out of Nothing: Process Tracing With Missing Data” (with Jody LaPorte), under review
“Carrots and Sticks: Experimental Evidence of Vote Buying and Voter Intimidation in Guatemala” (with Carlos Meléndez, Chad Kiewiet de Jonge, Javier Osorio and David Nickerson)