Jessica A.J. Rich

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Marquette University
Chapter Member: Wisconsin SSN

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About Jessica

Rich’s research focuses on international development, with an emphasis on social policy, civil society, and state capacity. Her regional expertise is in Latin America, with a particular focus on Brazil. An overarching theme in Rich’s work is how activists outside and inside the state work together to build state capacity for social welfare policies.

In the News

"While Brazil’s President Fights Social Distancing, Its Public Health System is Fighting the Pandemic," Jessica A.J. Rich, Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, May 4, 2020.


"Organizing 21st-Century Activism: From Structure to Strategy in Latin American Social Movements." Latin American Research Review 55, no. 3 (2020).

Examines the role that a social movement’s organizing structure plays in determining the tactics it is likely to adopt. The article illustrates the argument through a case study of Brazil’s AIDS movement, acclaimed throughout Latin America for its ability to pursue hybrid tactics for policy influence.

"Making National Participatory Institutions Work: Bureaucrats, Activists, and AIDS Policy in Brazil" Latin American Politics and Society 61, no. 2 (2019): 45-67.

What are the conditions under which participatory institutions increase the voice of marginalized groups in policymaking? Examining the case of Brazil’s AIDS policy sector, this article argues that to fully understand the dynamics of national participatory governance, we must consider the role of bureaucrats.

State-Sponsored Activism: Bureaucrats and Social Movements in Democratic Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Explains Brazil’s continued success on AIDS treatment and prevention policy by highlighting the ways in which a powerful, autonomous social movement enables the state to sustain transformative social policies over time.

"Grassroots Bureaucracy: Intergovernmental Relations and Popular Mobilization in Brazil's AIDS Policy Sector" Latin American Politics and Society 55, no. 2 (2013): 1-25.

Identifies a new strategy utilized by national bureaucrats to regulate the behavior of subnational politicians: mobilizing civil society as government watchdog and political advocate.