Zoila Ponce de Leon Assistant Professor of Politics

Zoila Ponce de Leon

Huntley 210
Website - Curriculum Vitae
on leave Winter Term

Zoila Ponce de Leon is an Assistant Professor in the Politics Department and a member of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) Program. Her research focuses on social policy and comparative political economy, with particular emphasis on the politics of policymaking. She is broadly interested in explaining the variation in the expansion of social benefits across new democracies. Her book project, Political Parties and Policy Reform: Expansion of Healthcare in Latin America, approaches this issue by studying how and why the role of political parties as policy makers has an effect on the quality of legislation and its implementation. Through the comparison of healthcare reform processes in Chile, Mexico, and Peru in the 2000s, she analyzes how programmatic versus non-programmatic parties affect the policymaking process.

Ponce de Leon studies other factors that influence the expansion of social benefits as well as political representation, including gender bias on legislator responsiveness, the expansion of the private healthcare sector, party-voter policy congruence and clientelism, and immigration attitudes. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Journal of Experimental Political Science, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, and Revista de Ciencia Política.


Ph.D. in Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2018)
M.A. in Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2014)
B.A. in Political Science, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (2011)


Comparative Politics, Social Policy, Comparative Political Economy, Latin American Politics, Political Parties, Representation, Immigration


Latin American Politics; Global Politics; Immigration Attitudes; Applied Statistics; Dystopian Fiction, Horror & Politics

Selected Publications

“Women Want an Answer! Field Experiments on Gender Bias in Legislator Responsiveness," with Gabriele Magni. 2020. Journal of Experimental Political Science. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/XPS.2020.23 
“Peru 2018: Political Precariousness in the Times of Lava Jato," with Luis García. 2019. Revista Ciencia Política 39 (2): 341-365. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4067/S0718-090X2019000200341 
“The Changing Shapes of Latin American Welfare States," with Evelyne Huber. 2019. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.1656