I’m currently Professor of Political Science and Director of the Master of Global Studies program at Missouri State University. My research focuses mainly on the politics of land reform and taxation in Latin America. I’ve also taken a strong interest in the dynamics of social protest.
My second book, Property Threats and the Politics of Anti-Statism: The Historical Roots of Contemporary Tax Systems in Latin America, is being published by Cambridge University Press in January 2021. It seeks to explain the surprisingly large differences in the extent of taxation among Latin American countries, with a focus on Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. I also published a number of earlier works on this topic, including a chapter in Gustavo Flores-Macías' edited volume The Political Economy of Taxation in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2019). My 2015 Journal of Latin American Studies piece on Brazil's tax system ("The Roots of Brazil's Heavy Tax Burden") won the best article prize of the Economics and Politics Section of the Latin American Studies Association in 2016.
I have also been working intermittently on issues of land reform and social movements. My book Land, Protest and Politics: The Landless Movement and the Struggle for Agrarian Reform in Brazil was published by Penn State University Press in 2008. More recent publications in these areas include an article on the social function of property principle in Brazil, which came out in Land Use Policy in 2016, and an article (co-authored with Indira Palacios-Valladares) on role of student protest in the reforms of the Nueva Mayoría government in Chile, which was published in the Bulletin of Latin American Research in 2019. I am also Associate Editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latin American Politics. I obtained my PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2002.