Academic Profile

People Feature

Ezequiel Gonzalez Ocantos

Professorial Fellow
Associate Professor in the Qualitative Study of Comparative Political Institutions

Research Interests: The impact of international human rights law in domestic judicial politics.

I'm the Associate Professor in the Qualitative Study of Comparative Political Institutions in the Department of Politics and International Relations, and a Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College. I am interested in understanding the impact of international human rights law in domestic judicial politics. My book Shifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America (Cambridge University Press) shows that the diffision of international legal ideas by local activists explains why some Latin American judiciaries chose to decisively punish those responsible for serious human rights violations perpetrated during dictatorships and armed conflicts. The book has won several awards: the Herman Pritchett Best Book Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association; the Best Book Award from the Human Rights Section of the International Studies Association; and the Donna Lee Van Cott Best Book Award from the Political Institutions Section of the Latin American Studies Association. Part of this research also appeared in Comparative Politics (July 2014) in an article entitled 'Persuade Them or Oust Them: Crafting Judicial Change and Transitional Justice in Argentina.' I've also published about the impact of human rights trials on public opinion in The International Journal of Human Rights.

I am currently working on two new projects. The first one tries to explain the influence of the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights among Latin American high courts. The goal is to identify the conditions under which international courts find reliable partners among domestic judges, and trace the processes whereby international jurisprudence becomes a routine reference point for local courts. This form of transjudicial communication has important implications, not only for the power of international courts, but also for the effectiveness of human rights norms. The second project, in collaboration with Nara Pavao from the University of Pernambuco (Brazil), examines the consequences of anti-corruption judicial activism in Latin America. Specifically, we are interested in studying how these assertions of judicial power affect mass attitudes such as tolerance for corruption and political cynicism. To do so we rely on a variety of survey experiments.

I have also co-authored a series of papers on the political economy of vote buying and intimidation during electoral campaigns. Using original post-electoral survey data from several Latin American countries, our work explores the extent of these practices, what citizens think about them, and who gets targeted by parties. Some of our findings appeared in two articles published in the American Journal of Political Science, 'Vote Buying and Social Desirability Bias: Experimental Evidence from Nicaragua' (January 2012) and 'The Conditionality of Vote Buying Norms: Experimental Evidence from Latin America' (January 2014), in a paper in Comparative Political Studies (July 2015), and in a forthcoming piece in the Latin American Research Review.

I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. My thesis won APSA's 2013 Edward S. Corwin Award for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of Public Law. Before coming to Oxford I was an Assistant Professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City.

Ezequiel Gonzalez Ocantos

Publications

Book

2016. "Shifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America." Cambridge Studies in Law and Society, Cambridge University Press.  

Peered-Reviewed Articles

2018. "Remittances and Vote Buying: Experimental Evidence from El Salvador," in Latin American Research Review (with Chad Kiewiet de Jonge and Covadonga Meseguer)

2016. "Evaluations of Human Rights Trials and Trust in Judicial Institutions: Evidence from Fujimori’s Trial in Peru," in The International Journal of Human Rights, 20(4): 445-470

2015. "Legitimacy Buying: The Dynamics of Clientelism in the Face of Legitimacy Challenges," in Comparative Political Studies, 48(9):1127-1158 (with Chad Kiewiet de Jonge and David Nickerson)

2014. "Persuade Them or Oust Them: Crafting Judicial Change and Transitional Justice in Argentina," in Comparative Politics, 46(4):279-298

2014. "The Conditionality of Vote Buying Norms: Experimental Evidence from Latin America," in American Journal of Political Science, 58(1):197-211 (with Chad Kiewiet de Jonge and David Nickerson)

2012. "Vote Buying and Social Desirability Bias: Experimental Evidence from Nigaragua," in American Journal of Political Science, 56(1):202-217 (with Chad Kiewiet de Jonge, Carlos Melendez, Javier Osorio and David Nickerson)