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Kathryn Baragwanath

I am a Research Fellow (in the Australian System) at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Australian Catholic University, based in Melbourne. I received my PhD in political science from the University of California, San Diego. My research focuses on the political economy of natural resources and environmental politics, with a focus on Latin America, where I am from.

In one set of projects I use geographic data to study the politics of deforestation in the Amazon. In another set of projects we use high resolution satellite imagery to study the effects of infrastructure investment on development, focusing on road construction projects.

My dissertation and book project investigates the effects of oil windfalls on political corruption and selection. I use a combination of formal models, natural quasi-experiments, and structural estimation to identify the effects of oil shocks on mayors’ corruption levels, reelection rates and policy outcomes in Brazilian municipalities.
My research has been published in the Journal of Urban Economics and PNAS. I am an affiliate with the SoDa Labs at Monash University. While at UCSD, I was an affiliated student with the Big Pixel Initiative at UCSD and an IGCC fellow. My work has been funded by the World Bank, the International Growth Center, the International Center at UCSD, CILAS and the Tinker Fund.

Prior to beginning my PhD, I worked as a research economist at the Chilean Antitrust Agency, Fiscalía Nacional Económica. I received a BA degree and Masters in Economics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.


  • –present
    Research Fellow, Australian Catholic University