Cecilia Emma Sottilotta, Ph.D.


The American University of Rome

Country: Italy

Research Interests

Political Violence

Comparative Political Institutions

European Politics


Non-Democratic Regimes


Uncertainty And Risk

European Union

Foreign Direct Investment

Latin American Politics

Countries of Interest





United States


Journal Articles:

(2017) The Strategic Use of Government-Sponsored Referendums in Contemporary Europe: Issues and Implications, Journal of Contemporary European Research

Referendums, especially those which are not constitutionally mandated, have often been used strategically in the context of both democratic and non-democratic regimes by political actors wishing to achieve specific goals. Engaging with the extant literature on the subject, this article analyses four government-sponsored referendums which took place between 2015 and 2016 in Greece, Britain, Hungary and Italy. The focus of the analysis is twofold. The first purpose is to debunk the political risk calculation underpinning the government’s decision to sponsor a referendum in each of the cases considered. The second is to suggest that the strategic use of referendum by governments in contemporary Europe can be better understood if read in light of the recent upsurge of populist movements.

(2015) Political Risk Assessment and the Arab Spring: What Can We Learn?, Thunderdbird International Business Review

Whether dealing with debt issues in the Eurozone, investment prospects in emerging markets, or potential disruptions in patterns of global trade, the identification, assessment, and measurement of political risk (PR) are recurring issues for businesses and governments today. In the past few years, abrupt social and political change has become the rule in international relations. A prominent instance of this is the “Arab Spring,” the massive and unexpected wave of social and political turmoil that, starting in the winter of 2010-2011, swept across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The Arab Spring has significantly affected the business climate of the countries involved. In doing so, it has also exposed the shortcomings of the extant approaches to PR assessment. This article discusses the performance of five different approaches to PR assessment (OECD, ONDD, EIU, PRS, SACE) vis-à-vis the Arab Spring, providing some specific suggestions on how to improve PR assessment and analysis. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Books Written:

(2016) Rethinking Political Risk: Concepts, Theories, Challenges., Routledge

Political risk was first introduced as a component for assessing risk not directly linked to economic factors following the flow of capital from the US to Europe after the Second World War. However, the concept has rapidly gained relevance since, with both public and private institutions developing complex methodologies designed to evaluate political risk factors and keep pace with the internationalization of trade and investment. Continued global and regional economic and political instability means a plethora of different actors today conduct a diverse range of political risk analyses and assessments. Starting from the epistemological foundations of political risk, this books bridges the gap between theory and practice, exploring operationalization and measurement issues with the support of an empirical case study on the Arab uprisings, discussing the role of expert judgment in political forecasting, and highlighting the main challenges and opportunities political risk analysts face in the wake of the digital revolution.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2019) Euronews

Live skype commentary on current Italian politics after the 2019 European elections

(2018) Al Jazeera English

Newshour commentary on Italian politics