Michael Albertus is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago. His research interests include political regimes and redistribution, regime transitions and stability, politics under dictatorship, clientelism, and civil conflict.

His first book, Autocracy and Redistribution: The Politics of Land Reform, was published in 2015 by Cambridge University Press in the Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics series. It won the 2016 Luebbert Book Award for the best book in comparative politics published in the previous two years, as well as the 2017 LASA Bryce Wood Book Award for the best book on Latin America in the social sciences and humanities. His research has also been published in the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Annual Review of Political Science, Comparative Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Political Science Research and Methods, Economics & Politics, World Development, and Latin American Research Review.

His second book, Flawed Since Conception: Authoritarian Legacies Under Democracy, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.

Land Reform and Long-Term Development 

As a CISSR faculty fellow from 2016-18, this project builds in key ways from my ongoing work. My focus the last two years has mainly been on (i) developing theory linking land reform, development, and conflict;(ii) analyzing the case of Peru; (iii) gathering original data for a broader comparative project that engages with the experience of southern Europe. It builds in important ways from my work last year and this year on Peru. The main cases I am studying now are in southern Europe: Italy, Portugal, Spain.  All of these countries had wide-ranging land reform programs between the 1930s and 1970s.

Numerous scholars have long hypothesized that reforming rural relationships and economic organization holds the potential to unleash human capital development and economic dynamism and reduce contestation over the lopsided distribution of property. This project will investigate these relationships empirically for the first time in southern Europe, using original data on property-level transfers that I have collected over the past year and a half in part using CISSR funding.