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Maria Gabriela Palacio Ludena

Assistant Professor of Development Studies, Leiden University

I am an Assistant Professor at Leiden University. I hold a PhD in Development Studies by the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS). I obtained my BSc in Economics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in 2008 and an MSc degree in Social Economy and Non-Profit Organisations Management at the Universitat de València in 2009. I also obtained an MA in Development Studies at the ISS in 2011, specialising in Poverty Studies and Policy Analysis. My work contributes to interdisciplinary work on critical social policy. Most of my empirical research has focused on Ecuador, though I have written more broadly about Latin America.

At Leiden University, I teach courses on political economy, area studies (Latin America), and academic consultancy as informed by development studies. I am a member of the editorial board of the periodical Cuestiones Económicas, editor-in-chief of the magazine Analitika, and member of the advisory board of the Leiden Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research: Medusa. I am manuscript reviewer for World Development, Development and Change, and Estado & Comunes.

Before my academic career, I worked in the NGO sector on projects related to public health, as a consultant on value chains and sustainable development, and in public administration for the Ecuadorian Development Bank. I have maintained and developed previous engagements consulting for various (inter)national organisations such as UNU-WIDER, the Centre for Fiscal Studies and the National Development Council of Ecuador; on projects related to inequality and poverty, social protection and tax reform.


  • –present
    Assistant Professor of Development Studies, Leiden University


  • 2017 
    International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam, PhD in Development Studies