Latest peer-reviewed articles:

Fairness beyond the ballot: A comparative analysis of failures of electoral integrity, perceptions of electoral fairness, and attitudes towards democracy across 18 countries

With Ricardo González, Andrés Scherman and Alfredo Joignant. Published in Electoral Studies (2024).


Trust in the integrity of the electoral process is essential for a functioning democracy. However, doubts about the legitimacy of electoral processes have increased in established and emerging democracies. We analyzed electoral integrity perceptions and related variables across 26 elections and 18 countries using post-election surveys conducted between 2004 and 2021 as part of the Comparative National Elections Project. We found that citizens' experiences of electoral integrity failures, such as bribery and intimidation, are crucial in shaping their perceptions of electoral integrity. Additionally, we found that autonomous electoral offices have little effect on citizens’ perceptions of integrity and freedom in the electoral process. Finally, electoral integrity perceptions significantly impact attitudes towards democracy. Our results emphasize the importance of well-functioning electoral processes and institutions in upholding the legitimacy of democracies.

Link to the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP) at Ohio State University, which this paper relies on.

Intergroup relations affect depressive symptoms of Indigenous people: Longitudinal evidence. 

With Hanna Zagefka, Roberto González, Diego Castro, Pía Carozzi, and Fernando Pairican. Published in European Journal of Social Psychology (2023).


One thousand eight hundred thirty-five individuals who self-identified as Indigenous (with Mapuche being the largest group) participated in a two-wave longitudinal survey conducted in Chile with an 18 months lag. This was an approximately nationally representative sample of residents of culturally diverse communities. The aim of the study was to identify protective and adverse factors that are related to the development of depressive symptoms in Indigenous people. It was hypothesised that perceived social support would be negatively related to the development of depressive symptoms, and that perceived discrimination would be positively associated with depressive symptoms, so that being on the receiving end of discrimination would make the manifestation of depressive symptoms more likely. Social support and perceived discrimination were themselves predicted to be affected by acculturation preferences and skin pigmentation. It was hypothesised that a positive acculturation orientation towards both the Indigenous group and members of non-Indigenous majority society would be associated with more perceived social support. Hence, preference for culture maintenance and preference for cross-group contact were expected to be positively related to social support. Further, it was hypothesised that darker skin pigmentation would be associated with more experiences of discrimination. Taken together, two processes were expected to affect depressive symptomatology: a protective effect of acculturation preferences mediated by social support, and a deleterious effect of pigmentation mediated by experiences of discrimination. Results confirmed the predictions cross-sectionally, but longitudinal effects were only found for the deleterious effect of pigmentation; the protective effect of acculturation preferences was notably weaker over time. These findings have both theoretical and applied implications.

Link to the panel survey this paper is based on (in Spanish), where I served as executive coordinator and analyst.

Expectations of trustworthiness in cross-status interactions.

With Mauricio Salgado and Javier Núñez. Published in Social Science Research (2021).


Although the literature on trust is vast, little is known about the attributes that trigger or inhibit trusting others we do not know. Using a vignette version of the trust game, we addressed the role that social standing plays in estimating trustworthiness of strangers in cross-status interactions in Chile, a non-WEIRD context also characterized by high inequality and social segregation. While we found a positive relationship between social status and generalized trust, we found no relationship between the social status of trustors and trusting behavior in the game. Besides, trustees’ income was the most important attribute for trustors to decide how much to trust. We also found that higher-income trustees are less trusted in general, particularly by lower-status trustors. Finally, the results revealed that the influence of income differences on trust was higher for lower-status participants: they are more trustful of others of similar status. We did not observe a similar effect of ingroup favoritism on trust among higher-status participants. Thus, higher levels of relational or particularized trust were found among participants of lower social status compared to those of higher social status.

Press coverage in Chilean newspaper "The Clinic" (in Spanish).

Who Differentiates by Skin Color? Status Attributions and Skin Pigmentation in Chile

With Fernanda Torres, Mauricio Salgado and Javier Núñez. Published in Frontiers in Psychology (2019).


A growing body of research has shown that phenotypes and skin pigmentation play a fundamental role in stratification dynamics in Latin American countries. However, the relevance of skin color on status attribution for different status groups has been little studied in the region. This article seeks to broaden the research on phenotypic status cues using Chile as a context for analysis – a Latin American country with a narrow although continuous spectrum of skin tones, marked status differences, and a mostly white elite. We draw on status construction theory to hypothesize that skin pigmentation in Chile has become a status cue, although its heuristic relevance could differ across status groups. Using visual stimuli and a repeated measure design, we studied this relationship and tested whether the use of skin pigmentation as a status cue is conditional upon the status of those categorizing others. The results reveal that participants attribute, on average, lower status to others of darker skin. Besides, skin pigmentation has a conditional effect on the social status of participants: whereas skin pigmentation does not work as a status cue for lower status participants, it is an important status marker for the categorizations that middle and especially higher status participants perform. The phenotypic composition of reference groups of low- and high-status individuals and system justification are discussed as potential explanations for these results.

Supplementary material from this article.

The experience and perception of corruption: A comparative study in 34 societies

With Ricardo González and Esteban Muñoz. Published in International Journal of Sociology (2019).


In this article we show that perceptions of corruption and the experience of bribery are related theoretically and empirically at the individual level, although the magnitude of this association relies on two context variables, country-level corruption and press freedom. For that purpose, we propose a sociological approach to understand how people form “mental images” of corruption beyond (as well as based on) their personal experience of bribery. We test its main implications using a cross-national approach based on ISSP's 2016 Role of Government module and the national-level predictors suggested by our theoretical framework and the specialized literature. Using multilevel models, we find that the generalized perception of corruption is associated with the personal experience of bribery and that this association is stronger in countries where corruption is relatively absent and press freedom is high, i.e., developed countries, and is weaker otherwise, i.e., developing countries.

Accompanying working paper for Chilean think-tank CEP (in Spanish).

You can find a complete list of my publications in my CV.


© 2024