Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Lucia Motolinia

Dr. Lucia Motolinia, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Fortin de la Flores Veracruz, a small town on the East coast of Mexico.

Where did you complete your undergrad?

Where did you complete your PhD?
New York University

When did you come to WashU?
December 2021

What is your area of concentration?

What research you are most proud of?
My dissertation: especially the first and second papers of the dissertation.

What are you currently working on?
My book project "Trading Pork for Unity: How Parties Respond to Electoral Reforms in Party-Centered Systems,” provides a theory that re-examines the conventional wisdom about candidate-centered systems to explain why, under certain conditions, electoral rules that incentivize legislators to cultivate a personal vote can reinforce the characteristics of party-oriented systems. In particular, I apply methods of causal inference and text analysis to study the effects of Mexico’s 2014 Electoral Reform, which lifted an 80-year-old ban on consecutive reelection, on the legislative behavior of local legislators in Mexico.

What is the most challenging class you have ever taken? 
Math for Political Science. This class was very challenging because I had to learn concepts and their application at the same time that I was learning the language of "math".

If you were not a political science professor, what would you be doing?
Before grad school, I worked as a consultant for UNODC specializing in crime statistics and crime victimization surveys. I think I would have continued on that path, or other type of policy oriented research.

Favorite place to eat in St. Louis?
Turmeric: It is the best Indian food I have ever had.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
My hobby is crocheting amigurumi animals.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you pick?

Favorite travel destination and why?
Mexico because the people, music and tacos.