Allyson Benton, Ph.D.

Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas

Phone: +525557279828

Address: Carret. México-Toluca 3655

City: Col. Lomas de Santa Fé, CDMX - 01210

Country: Mexico

Research Interests

Latin American And Caribbean Politics

Political Economy

Comparative Democratization

State and Local Politics

Political Participation

Research Methods & Research Design

Subnational Governance

Subnational Finance

Subnational Authoritarianism

Subnational Budget Cycles

Politics And Markets

Legacy Of Authoritarianism

Countries of Interest



My Research:

My research focuses on subnational economic and political governance in Latin America.  One aspect of my research focuses on how political factors affect subnational fiscal policy. I have examined the impact of rational partisan ideology, vertical partisan effects, and election cycles on municipal debt policy in Mexico. I have also studied how municipal administrative capacity and violent crime affect subnational debt portfolios as well. My current research investigates how debt policy diffuses (both horizontally and vertically) among subnational governments, leading some localities toward certain types of debt over others.  Another aspect of my research examines how political institutions affect the survival of subnational authoritarian enclaves. I have examined the adoption of participatory institutions in electoral authoritarian Oaxaca, Mexico and their impact on subnational political dynamics under national authoritarian and national democratic rule. My current research examines how national authoritarian political decentralization facilitates the survival of subnational authoritarian enclaves after national democratization.  Although most of my research addresses topics in subnational governance, I have also examined national level political and economic trends. I have published research on how national economic conditions affect voting behavior, inter-governmental relations, and inter- and intra-party dynamics, as well as on how national political conditions affect stock markets. In an extension of my research on politics and markets, I am examining the impact of international and domestic politics on currency markets.


Journal Articles:

(2019) Party Leaders or Party Reputations? How Vertical Partisan Alignment Works to Rein in Fiscal Profligacy, Journal of Politics

Some scholars argue that party leader considerations drive governors copartisan with presidents toward fiscal discipline, while others argue that party reputation concerns guide their behavior. To demonstrate how to assess whether either of these mechanisms is at work, I extend them to the municipal level. If mayors aligned with both governors and presidents are more disciplined than mayors aligned with only presidents, copartisan governors affect mayoral fiscal behavior through party leader considerations. If mayors aligned with both governors and presidents are just as fiscally disciplined as those aligned with only presidents, party reputation concerns drive mayoral fiscal behavior. Cross-sectional time-series analysis of debt used to finance fiscal excess in municipal Mexico reveals support for the party leader concern logic in this nation, but the party reputation logic (or both logics, or neither logic) may be at work in others.

(2017) Violent Crime and Capital Market Punishment: How Violent Crime Affects the Supply of Debt to Municipal Mexico, Studies in Comparative International Development

Research shows that violent and organized crime reduces foreign direct investment and that armed conflict lowers sovereign credit ratings. Building on these insights, I argue that violent crime reduces financial institutions’ confidence in the capacity of governments to repay loans, raising the costs attached to loans, and reducing government debt through a “supply-side” logic. Yet, this logic is difficult to test. Governments can render lenders indifferent to violent crime by accepting higher borrowing costs, resulting in no observed relationship between them. It is for this reason that analysis of the effect of violent crime on government credit ratings alone cannot tell us much about its effect on actual government debt. In this study, I explain how analysis of subnational debt from welfare-minded public banks and profit-minded private lenders can distinguish the supply-side logic from the null hypothesis. Cross-sectional time-series analysis of homicide rates and municipal debt in Mexico demonstrates support for the supply-side logic. Evidence of the supply-side logic reveals that those governments most in need of cost-efficient financing are most likely to be charged higher prices for it or priced out of capital markets altogether, signaling the need for market intervention in these cases.

(2017) Configuring Authority over Electoral Manipulation in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from Mexico, Democratization

How do electoral authoritarian autocrats choose strategies for manipulating elections? Most scholars assume that autocrats strategize all electoral manipulation from above, with local regime agents charged with carrying out these top-down strategies. In contrast, a few assume that local regime agents strategize all electoral manipulation from the bottom up. More likely, reality lies in between. To make this point, I build an argument for how autocrats might configure the distribution of decisions over electoral manipulation among regime agents. I argue that autocrats delegate decisions about electoral manipulation to local regime agents in core regime districts – to ensure aggregate support – and to regime agents in recently marginal regime districts – to ensure territorial control. In contrast, autocrats determine strategies in long-time marginal districts and in those turned adverse to the regime. Statistical analysis of a unique political reform in one state in electoral authoritarian Mexico – where autocrats transferred the authority to restrict political rights and the secret ballot to some regime agents but not to all – supports the argument. It also reinforces the proposition that wholly centralized/decentralized decision-making about electoral manipulation only occurs under specific political conditions, raising questions about the empirical validity of these assumptions in current research.