Short Bio & CV


Curriculum Vitae: Cordova_Abby_CV_Nov 2019

Short Bio:

Broadly defined, my research program examines the consequences of inequality and marginalization for the quality of democracy. More specifically, my research agenda integrates topics related to economic inequality, gender inequality, crime and violence, and international migration. Importantly, my research seeks to identify and evaluate the effectiveness of public policies that can improve the well-being of disadvantaged citizens and in this way advance democratic consolidation in the developing world. My research program examines three main questions: 1) How do contexts characterized by economic marginalization and violence affect disadvantaged citizens’ political attitudes and participation in electoral and non-electoral activities? 2) What are the consequences for democracy of the strategies disadvantaged citizens adopt to cope with economic marginalization and violence? 3) What role does the state play in reducing or exacerbating political inequality?

To explore these questions, I employ experimental and non-experimental research designs as well as advanced statistical methods, including multilevel modeling, multilevel structural equation modeling, and causal inference techniques such as matching and instrumental variables. As an expert on survey research methodologies, my work relies extensively on public opinion and elite survey data. Several of my ongoing research projects combine public opinion data with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) information to locate the place of residence of survey respondents and examine the extent of their access to state provided resources as well as contextual characteristics at the census-tract level. My research is also informed by in-depth interviews and fieldwork I have carried out in multiple Latin American countries. Though grounded in Latin America, my work goes beyond this region and explores patterns of political inequality across the globe.

My peer-reviewed articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Journal of Politics, World Politics, Political Behavior, Comparative Political Studies, the Latin American Research Review, Latin American Politics and Society, América Latina Hoy, the Journal of International Sociology (special issue on Political Inequality), Journal of Democracy, and PS: Political Science and Politics. My article at the Journal of Politics received the 2017 Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA)’s Sophonisba Breckinridge Award for best paper on women and politics. More recently, my research has been recognized with the 2019 Southern Political Science Association (SPSA)’s Marian Irish Award for best paper on women and politics.

I am a member of the editorial board of two peer-reviewed journals, Political Behavior and Revista Latinoamericana de Opinión Pública.

Since I joined the University of Kentucky, I have received over $150,000 in grants and research fellowships, including funding from USAID, The American Political Science Association (APSA) Centennial Fund, Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, and the University of Kentucky’s Office for Policy Studies on Violence against Women, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the College of Arts and Science. In addition, I have received funding from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

I completed my graduate studies at Vanderbilt University, where I obtained a PhD in Political Science and two Master’s degrees, one in Economics, the other in Latin American Studies. Before joining the University of Kentucky, I was a post-doctoral fellow in the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University, where I served as the lead researcher of USAID’s Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) impact evaluation project. I have also been a Fulbright Fellow and worked as a consultant for The World Bank.