I am primarily a political economist, but at the heart of my work is a commitment to interdisciplinarity and pluralism, with interest ranging wide across the social sciences. My research encompasses different aspects of the political economy of Latin America, focusing on inequality, structural change and development strategies. In particular, my recent work has assessed how the strategies of the ‘Pink Tide’ governments – the left-of-centre parties that were in power in Latin America roughly during the 2000s – were capable or not of upgrading the structures of their economies, reducing multidimensional inequality, and launching an inclusive, sustainable process of development. This encompasses an assessment, comparison and critique of the development strategies from different vantage points, ranging from their approach to economic transformation to the class politics that sustained and constrained these strategies. Currently, I am also working on how inequality in Brazil is structured in and through class, race and gender, and how this has changed or not during the Workers’ Party (PT) governments.
One of my other central research interests is the measurement of inequality. From a theoretical and statistical perspective, I am working on decompositions and extensions of (multidimensional) inequality indices, as well as on the relationship between the measurement of inequality and social choice theory. I was also part of a team, alongside colleagues from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Oxfam, that developed a Multidimensional Inequality Framework based on Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach, which is now being piloted in different countries. I am particularly interested in applications of these frameworks in a comparative perspective.
Another ongoing research project of mine is studying the economy as a complex system. In a collaboration with physicists, economists and philosophers, we have been promoting a dialogue between the physics of complexity and political economy, with two key objectives. The first is to understand and model the economy as a non-linear, complex and adaptive system, stressing the role of technological innovation and the dynamics of the profit rate. The second is to explore the differences between a modern capitalist economy and other complex systems.
I am also interested in heterodox frameworks in economics (Marxist, post-Keynesian, Institutionalist, the Capabilities approach), class analysis, financialisation, state theory, Brazilian economic history, interdisciplinary and pluralist approaches, and mixed methods in the social sciences.
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