Katherine (Kate) McKiernan is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR) at Tulane University. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020. Her research focuses on distributive politics, with a particular focus on how politicians allocate club goods, in Latin America. She is also interested in how clientelist dynamics change in weak party systems.
Katherine is currently working on a series of articles that focus on which types of municipalities are likely to receive club goods and under what conditions mayors will be reliable brokers for legislators who use club goods to target brokers. This work uses a mixed methods approach, combining qualitative interviews, formal models, survey experiments, and regression analysis, in order to explore what characteristics of municipalities help explain where goods are more likely to be distributed. As part of this research agenda, Katherine has developed an estimation strategy that uses a Bayesian mixed-membership model and data on public employment in order to estimate municipal-level patronage. She finds that municipalities with higher rates of patronage are more likely to receive club goods from the national government. She is currently working to uncover the mechanisms for why these municipalities are more likely to receive funds.