Political Science


Nicolás is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in comparative politics. His research is on civil wars, political regimes, and the state of the sub-discipline, with a focus on Latin America. It has been published in the Journal of Latin American StudiesDesarrollo EconómicoRevista Uruguaya de Ciencia Política, and Miríada: Investigación en Ciencias Sociales.

Nicolás instructed graduate and undergraduate level courses at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and Brown University, where he furthered his teaching training at the Sheridan Center.

He holds an M.A. and a B.A. in Political Science from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (2018) and Universidad de San Andrés (2014), both in Argentina. Outside of academia, he plays soccer and is a River Plate fan.

Job Market Paper Title

A Theory of Militias’ Origins, Mobilization, and Post-Conflict Trajectories: The Case of Los Morochucos, Cangallo (Peru)

Job Market Paper Abstract

Why do militias, also known as counterinsurgency groups, originate in some areas but not others during civil wars? How do militias’ origins and mobilization processes affect their likelihood of survival after the conflict? Not all militias are created equal, which explains why some have long-lasting effects while others do not. Their emergence and evolution depend on the interactions between the state, insurgents, and civilians in different conflict areas, which vary at the subnational level.

In insurgent strongholds, grassroots attempts to form militias from the civilian population are stifled. Instead, militias are often externally imposed “from above” by the state, following a shift in territorial control due to successful indiscriminate attacks. These externally imposed militias tend to be repressive and unpopular among the local population, leading to their prompt dissolution after the conflict.

Conversely, in disputed areas with contested territorial control, civilians manage to create militias “from below.” In these contexts, militias forge civic-military alliances with the state to combat insurgents. These militias emerge as prestigious community-led institutions among rural citizens, who redeploy them in the post-conflict period to provide security and enhance local governance.

Drawing from comprehensive field research conducted over nine months in the Peruvian countryside, I combine site-intensive methods—interviews, archival research, and participant observation—to test my theoretical claims. Such methods inform my comparative historical analysis through process tracing, where I reconstructed militias’ trajectories in different conflict areas, encompassing both insurgent-controlled and disputed territories.

My findings have implications for mitigating the impact of civil wars on post-conflict societies, avoiding the re-emergence of violent conflict, and improving public goods provision where the state is weak.