UCL Institute of the Americas


Néstor Castañeda

Dr Néstor Castañeda
Nestor Castaneda

Associate Professor of Latin American Political Economy

Department Graduate Tutor (Teaching)

Programme Director: MSc Globalisation and Latin American Development



Néstor Castañeda is Associate Professor of Latin American Political Economy at University College London. He earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. Nestor holds a BA in Economics from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. His research has appeared in Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, Political Studies, and the American Journal of Public Health, among others. Néstor is also the convenor of the UK Political Studies Association's Specialist Group on Latin American Politics and the Latin American Political Economy Seminar Series at the UCL-Institute of the Americas.

Research Summary

Dr Castañeda's long-term research agenda focuses on three topics: business and taxation, political finance and lobbying regulation, and electoral participation in Latin America.

In the field of business and taxation, he is developing a number of projects to evaluate the influence of special interest groups on public policy in Latin America. These projects include a book manuscript on the politics of progressive tax reforms in Latin America and a series of studies on tax compliance, informality, and redistribution in the region.

In the field of political finance, his research agenda focuses on the institutional determinants of campaign finance regulation in Latin America. In particular, he studies the relationship between electoral uncertainty and political finance regulation throughout the world, and investigates on different aspects of campaign spending and lobbying in Latin America.

Finally, in the field of electoral participation, his agenda seeks to evaluate the effects of economic development on electoral turnout across Latin America. He is currently working on a study of the behavioural effects of economic adversity on voting turnout and the impact of preferences for redistribution on voting turnout.

Teaching Summary

Dr. Castañeda currently teaches graduate-level modules focused on the interaction between politics and economics in Latin America. His module on Latin American Political Economy analyses the role of political institutions for economic performance and their implications for equitable development. His module on Money and Politics in Latin America seeks to evaluate the consequences of special interest groups for economic growth, democracy, and redistribution. And his module Political Economy of Inequality in Latin America analyses the recent implementation of redistributive policies in the region and identifies which political and institutional factors make them more or less successful in reducing inequality and alleviating poverty. He is also teaching a class on Latin American Economics and contributes to the module on Latin American Development.

Post Graduate Taught:

AMER0009 Globalisation and Latin American Development: Latin America in the Twenty-First Century

AMER0017 Latin American Economics

AMER0025 Money and Politics in Latin America Not running in 2019/20

Research Supervision:

Dr Castañeda welcomes applications from students undertaking PhD research in the following areas: Latin American Politics, Business Interest Groups, Economic Policymaking, Tax Reform and Fiscal Adjustment, Lobbying and Political Finance Regulation, Campaign Spending and Public Policy, Electoral Participation and Electoral Systems, Economic Development and Inequality.