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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Riitta-Ilona Koivumaeki

M.A. in Latin American Studies, UT Austin, B.Soc.Sci., University of Tampere, Finland

Riitta-Ilona Koivumaeki


I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at UT Austin. My fields of study are Comparative Politics and International Relations, and my dissertation examines the politics of economic nationalism in contemporary Latin America. I hold a B.Soc.Sci. degree from the University of Tampere (Finland), and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from UT Austin.

My dissertation research focuses on the relations between the state and multinational corporations in contemporary Latin America. In particular, I am interested in analyzing whether institutional constraints of the neoliberal era have succeeded in protecting property rights of foreign investors today. My research finds that bilateral investment treaties, the international institutions built to safeguard foreign investment and curb nationalistic measures, have not prevented politicians from attacking multinationals. Instead, I argue, mineral price increases have allowed executives to bypass the treaties and take over multinational corporations with relative ease. To advance the argument, I use both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The qualitative case studies compare the recent hydrocarbon reforms in Venezuela and Bolivia, and they draw from my field research during the academic year of 2012-2013.

An article based on my dissertation research has been accepted for publication in Comparative Politics. I have published an article based on my M.A. thesis in Journal of Politics in Latin America, and I have a book chapter in The Resilience of the Latin American Right, edited by Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser and Juan Pablo Luna (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014).


Latin American Politics, Comparative and International Political Economy, International Institutions, Qualitative and Mixed Research Methods
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