Book Projects and Articles

Book Projects

Córdova, Abby. Violence against Women and Political Participation in Contexts of Criminal Violence.

  • Project supported by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, with a Visiting Scholar Fellowship.

Abstract: Across the developing world, unprecedented levels of criminal violence led by non-state armed groups have coincided with alarming rates of violence against women (VAW). In this book project, I develop a theoretical framework that helps explain how non-state armed groups’ territorial control make women more vulnerable to gender-based violence and its consequences for women’s political participation. I argue that state absence and the resulting territorial control by criminal organizations increases women’s vulnerability to gender-based violence in and outside the home, thereby undermining women’s freedom to exercise their political rights in democratic societies. I test my hypotheses in the context of gang’s territorial control in El Salvador, relying on quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative analyses use data from various sources, including a large-scale original survey at the neighborhood level and a nationally representative survey of VAW. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, I explore how proximity to territories controlled by gangs affects women’s experiences with gendered violence and its consequences for women’s autonomy to engage in community and political activities.

Córdova, Abby, and Annabella España. Making Decentralization Work for Women: The Electability and Representation of Women in Local Governments.

  • Project funded by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at Iowa State University, the American Political Science Association (APSA), the Office of the Vice President for Research and the College of Arts and Science at the University of Kentucky and the College of Social Sciences at California State University, Fresno

Abstract: The third wave of democratization resulted in greater autonomy and more responsibilities for local governments in the developing world. One of the expectations was that decentralization reforms would bring opportunities to improve the political representation of historically marginalized populations, including women. In this book project, we seek to identify the challenges that Latin American women still face to be elected to office and influence public policy at the local level. We argue that the prevalence of gender stereotypes undermines women’s representation in local governments, particularly when women are members of an opposition party. To test our theory, we rely on qualitative and quantitative data. More specifically, we use data from an original multi-year elite survey carried out among 1000 elected council members across 101 municipalities in El Salvador, in-depth interviews with party leaders and council members, content analysis of council meetings, and electoral data from more than 5,000 municipalities across 22 Latin American countries.


Invited to Revise & Resubmit

Córdova, Abby, and Helen Kras. State Action to Prevent Violence against Women: How Women’s Police Stations Affect Men’s Attitudes toward Gendered Violence. Invited to revise and resubmit at the Journal of Politics.

  • Winner of the Southern Political Science Association’s 2019 Marian Irish Award for best paper on women and politics.

In Preparation for Submission/Working Papers

Córdova, Abby, and Annabella España. Do Multiparty Municipal Councils Improve Local Governance? Municipal Councilors’ Opinions in El Salvador.

  • Research based on original elite survey data collected among over 400 elected local officials across 101 municipalities in El Salvador.

Córdova, Abby. Vote Buying and Voter Turnout in Compulsory Voting Systems: Implications for the Political Behavior of the Poor.

Córdova, Abby, and Jonathan Hiskey. State Absence, Remittances, and Crime Victimization in Northern Central America.

Hiskey, J., Córdova, A., Malone, M., & Orcés, D. On the front Lines: A Profile of Female Crime Victims Seeking to Emigrate from Northern Central America.


Córdova, Abby and Jonathan Hiskey. Forthcoming. “Development Context and the Political Behavior of Remittance Recipients in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Political Behavior

Córdova, Abby and Helen Kras. Forthcoming. “Addressing Violence against Women: The Effect of Women’s Police Stations on Police Legitimacy.” Comparative Political Studies

Córdova, Abby. 2019. “Living in Gang-Controlled Neighborhoods: Impacts on Electoral and Non-Electoral Participation in El Salvador.” Latin American Research Review  54(1), 201–221.

  • Paper presented at the 2017 Latin American Studies Association (LASA) conference in a featured panel co-sponsored by the Latin American Research Review and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Hiskey, Jonathan, Abby Córdova, Mary Malone, and Diana Orcés. 2018. “Leaving the Devil You Know: Crime Victimization, U.S. Deterrence Policy, and the Emigration Decision in Central America.” Latin American Research Review 53(3), 429–447. pdf

  • Featured in Panoramas and cited by the Wall Street Journal, among other media outlets. Within the first two weeks this article was published, it has been viewed online over 380 times and downloaded more than 100 times.

Córdova, Abby. 2018. “The Effect of Gang Activity on Trust in Government: Evidence from El Salvador.” América Latina Hoy published by the University of Salamanca, Spain.

  • Special issue on Central America

Córdova, Abby and Gabriela Rangel. 2017. “Addressing the Gender Gap: The Effect of Compulsory Voting on Women’s Electoral Engagement.” Comparative Political Studies 50 (2): 171–199. pdf

  • Co-authored with a graduate student at the University of Kentucky

Barnes, Tiffany and Abby Córdova. 2016. Making Space for Women: Explaining Citizen Support for Legislative Gender Quotas in Latin America. Journal of Politics 78(3): 670–686. pdf

  • Winner of the Midwest Political Science Association’s 2017 Sophonisba Breckinridge Award for best paper on women and politics.

Córdova, Abby and Matthew Layton. 2016. “When Is Delivering the Goods Not Good Enough? How Economic Disparities in Latin American Neighborhoods Shape Citizen Trust in Local Government.” World Politics 68(1): 74-110. pdf  supplemental materials

Córdova, Abby and Jonathan Hiskey. 2015. “Shaping Politics at Home: Cross-Border Social Ties and Local-Level Political Engagement.” Comparative Political Studies 48(11): 1454-1487. pdf 

Córdova, Abby. 2011. “The Role of Social Capital in Citizen Support for Government Action to Reduce Economic Inequality.” Journal of International Sociology 41 (2): 28-50. (Special Issue on Political Inequality in Latin America) pdf

Córdova, Abby and Mitchell A. Seligson. 2010. “Economic Shocks and Democratic Vulnerabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Latin American Politics and Society 52 (2): 1-35. pdf

Córdova, Abby and Mitchell A. Seligson. 2010. “Governance and Support for Stable Democracy in Latin America.” Journal of Democracy 2: 28-46. (In Spanish) pdf

Córdova, Abby and Mitchell A. Seligson. 2009. “Economic Crisis and Democracy in Latin America.” PS: Political Science & Politics 42 (4): 673-678. pdf