Book Project and Articles

Book Project

Violence against Women and Political Participation in Contexts of Criminal Violence

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 gendered violence and its consequences for women’s political participation. I argue that criminal groups’ territorial control increases women’s vulnerability to gendered violence in and outside the home, which undermines women’s likelihood of engaging in politics. 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 two large-scale original surveys at the neighborhood level and a nationally representative survey of VAW. These data allow me to employ survey experiments and advanced statistical techniques to systematically examine the links between gangs’ territorial control, VAW, and women’s political participation.

Peer Reviewed Articles


Córdova, Abby. 2019. “Living in Gang-Controlled Neighborhoods: Impacts on Electoral and Non-Electoral Participation in El Salvador.” Latin American Research Review (Accepted for publication; it will be published in March of 2019).

  • 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