Wilson Center Experts
Viridiana (Government PhD, Harvard University) is an expert in Mexico’s political economy and security issues. Currently, she is CEO of México ¿Cómo Vamos? (MCV), a Mexican think tank specialized in subnational economic development, and an Op-Ed columnist for Excelsior, a Mexican National Newspaper. Before joining MCV, Viridiana was senior security adviser to current Mexico’s Minister of Finance and to former Mexican President’s Security Spokesman. She has also worked and researched at the Center for US-Mexico Studies (UCSD), the Trans-border Institute, the UN, USAID, The World Bank, Mexico’s Security Council, and Mexico’s Ministry of Social Development and of Education. Her academic research has made her recipient of many grants and awards. Her research on Mexico’s violence and government organization was awarded the American Political Science Award to the best doctoral dissertation (2012-2014), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2014), and Harvard’s Merit Fellowship for Outstanding Research (2011). She was also selected as one of the top-12 young experts by NBER’s Working Group of the Economics of Crime (2012), and was profiled at Harvard Gazette as one of the 15 Harvard’s stellar graduates of 2013.
Personal website: http://www.gov.harvard.edu/people/viridiana-rios-contreras
Viridiana explores the mechanisms under which violence, criminal activity and lack of rule of law reduce economic activity. Using Mexican subnational areas as her laboratory, she explores how labor productivity, economic growth and employment generation have been affected by changes in conflict intensity, particularly as a result of Mexico's recent escalation in criminal violence. Her goal is to assess whether productivity is reduced the most for firms whose inputs are related to USA markets and for individuals working at the services sector.
Viridiana’s research contributes to unravel the mechanisms under which rule of law impacts economic development in order to be able to define policies targeted towards the geographic or economic sectors that disproportionally bear the cost of violence and conflict.