Jessie Bullock, Ph.D. Candidate

Graduate Student

Harvard University

City: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Country: United States

About Me:

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University, studying Comparative Politics and Political Economy. My dissertation book project, Machine [Gun] Politics, explains why politicians and criminal organizations cooperate peacefully, drawing from a mixed-methods study of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My field work has been supported by the Corporación Andino de Fomiento (CAF), David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Harvard Brazil Cities Initiative, and the Foundations of Human Behavior Initiative (FHB). Broadly, my research interests include political violence, organized crime, corruption and machine politics, and governance and rule of law. I am a current graduate student affiliate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences.

Research Interests

Organized Crime

Corruption/Organized Crime


Political Corruption

Political Violence

Police Violence

Latin American And Caribbean Politics

Brazilian Politics

Countries of Interest






My Research:

My dissertation book project, Machine [Gun] Politics: Why Politicians Cooperate with Organized Crime, investigates the porousness between criminal organizations and politics. By focusing on their peaceful interactions instead of coercive or violent interactions, I explore the conditions under which politicians willingly make deals with members of organized criminal groups. Using a mixed methods approach to analyze several forms of criminal-politician interactions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this project explores the following questions: â€‹Under what conditions is cooperation with criminal organizations an election-winning strategy?Which candidates win in criminal strongholds, and why? What are the consequences for voters who elect a politician that makes deals with criminal organizations?