Camilo Nieto-Matiz

Camilo Nieto-Matiz

Fields of Study: Comparative Politics, International Relations


​Areas of interest: State capacity and local governance, criminal and political violence, subnational politics, Latin America

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. My research has been funded by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. My work has been published in Journal of Peace Research and ​Democracy and Security. 

My primary research interests lie at the intersection of violence and conflict, local governance, state capacity, and subnational politics. My research agenda addresses the causes and consequences of political order and local governance in violent contexts: whether and how political elites build state institutions in weakly institutionalized contexts, and the conditions under which democratic institutions may generate or prevent political and criminal violence. I combine quantitative and qualitative types of evidence and use both observational and quasi-experimental approaches to answer these questions.

In my dissertation, Integrating Subnational Peripheries: State Building and Violent Actors in Colombia, I study the politics of state building in violent democracies. Concretely, I ask why and how incumbents build state capacity in marginalized areas within countries affected by violent conflicts. In addition to a qualitative case study of the Macarena region in Colombia, I use multiple empirical strategies to understand how different coalitions between state officials and violent groups gave way to variations of state expansion at the local level.

Prior to coming to Notre Dame, I completed a BA in Political Science (2009) at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia and a MA in Public Policy and Conflict Studies (2013) at the University of Erfurt in Germany.