Diego Romero is postdoctoral research associate at the University of Pennsylvania’s DevLab@Penn, working on the Machine Learning for Peace Project. He earned his PhD in Political Science from Duke University, specializing in Political Economy and Political Methodology, in May of 2022. He holds an M.A. in Economics from Duke University and a B.A in Economics from Chapman University.Diego is interested in issues of governance, in particular corruption and accountability. His research explores how individuals, in their roles as ordinary citizens or managers of firms, use connections to politicians and bureaucrats to obtain privileged access to public services or public procurement contracts. In his job market paper, he builds and tests an argument to explain how networks of political favoritism operate in public contracting and the role bureaucratic capacity plays. Using data on all public contracts awarded by Guatemalan municipalities in the period 2013-19, and firm connections, he shows that more capable bureaucracies increase the likelihood of well connected firms winning contracts through less competitive processes.
Diego’s other research interests include the reintegration of deported migrants, the effects of democratic backsliding on civil society, and the gradient of state presence through its territory.