Valentina González-Rostani

Valentina González-Rostani

Ph.D. Candidate

University of Pittsburgh

Hello and thanks for visiting my website! I’m a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) at the University of Pittsburgh. My main research interests lie at the intersection of International Political Economy and Comparative Politics. My dissertation mainly focuses on the political consequences of technological change on individual political behavior and the evolution of party systems. It looks at the interplay between economic, cultural, and institutional factors. I use a mixed-methods approach in my work, incorporating quantitative analysis, text as data, and formal modeling. I am also interested in international trade, inequality, labor informality, and automation’s effects on climate change.

I am from Uruguay, where I taught classes on labor relations and administration at the Universidad de la Republica. Before coming to Pitt, I obtained a MA in Public Policies at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay and a BA in Public Accounting from Universidad de la Republica.

You can check out my ongoing research projects below, as well as some resources I’ve worked on here. Teaching experience and materials are available here.

Please feel free to contact me at: mag384 [at] pitt [dot] edu


  • Political Economy
  • Representation
  • Political Methodology


  • PhD in Political Science, expected 2024

    University of Pittsburgh

  • MA in Political Science., 2021

    University of Pittsburgh

  • MA in Public Policies, 2019

    Universidad Católica del Uruguay

  • BA in Public Accounting, 2015

    Universidad de la República

Current Research

Working papers

Legislators’ Religiosity and Same-Sex Marriage in Latin America” 2021 with Scott Morgenstern (Revise and Resubmit at Latin American Research Review - LARR)

Same-sex marriage (SSM) has risen to the top of political agendas across Latin America, but there is also great variance in terms of legal status, public support, and the policymaking processes. While the public and social movements have been critical to the advance of SSM, we know little about the views of those who are directly charged with translating public views into policy: the legislators. To fill this gap, we utilize a survey of the region’s legislators to first examine the range in support among countries and show how it correlates with legal changes. We then examine the correlates of legislators’ support for SSM. While we also test gender, age, and ideology, our multivariate models focus on religiosity. We show that in addition to driving support at the individual level (in the expected direction), religiosity also works as a contextual variable such that having more secular colleagues encourages pious legislators to support same-sex marriage.

"Unevenly Distribution of Minimum Wage Effects Across Firms: Does Firms’ Size Matters?” 2021. (presented at LASA 2021)

Political economists have explored the implications of firm heterogeneity for trade politics, but existing studies do not explain how the effects of labor politics distribute across firms. This paper contributes by analyzing the impact of wage bargaining by firm size. It empirically tests theoretical expectations about the uneven distribution of effects by looking at a drastic change in labor market policies in Uruguay, where the government instituted coordinated wage bargaining and a minimum wage (MW) increase, causing a regulatory shock for all firms. However, small firms were more exposed to the MW increase than their large counterparts. Adopting a Fuzzy-DID approach, I demonstrate that small firms were less able to increase wages, faced higher formalization costs, and lost the most skilled workers. These findings have important implications for understanding wage bargaining politics and firm heterogeneity in developing countries, which I discuss.

"Engaged Robots, and Disengaged Workers: Automation and Political Apathy” 2022. (presented at MPSA 2022 and EUSA 2022)

This paper theorizes the mechanism by which, after the wave of automation, vulnerable voters feel detached from political parties. I name this effect _automation disengagement_. I argue that we need to understand how automation anxiety thanks to the exposition of risks reflects into individual political preferences. In particular, I argue that the underlying mechanism is a decline of political engagement, and that is what makes losers of automation more prone to support anti-establishment rhetoric, or what explains the decline in voter turnout. To test my theoretical framework I focus on 20 European countries and use survey data --European Social Survey (ESS). I provide empirical evidence linking technological change and political disengagement using a Bayesian hierarchical model. I find that voters more exposed to technological risks are losing their engagement with political parties. My findings have important implications for understanding the changes in developed countries' party politics.

"Political-Economic Polarization. From Economic Polarization to Partisan Polarization” 2022. (presented at MPSA 2021, Workshop at Universidad Católica de Uruguay 2021, and EITM 2022)

While there is little doubt that technological change is generating labor market polarization (LMP), we know very little about how economic polarization translates into political polarization and how these effects are moderated by the institutional environment. I argue that LMP translates into political polarization and that outsider (extreme) party leaders have a strategic advantage in electoral competition under these circumstances. Against the commonly held view that parties under majoritarianism are moderated by the median voter, I argue that winner-take-all systems can be prone to policy extremism. In contexts where candidates and parties must build coalitions to govern, policy positions are moderated but non-policy issues such as values are more extreme. I build a theoretical model for better understanding the political economy of polarization by extending a model of electoral competition between a mainstream and populist party leader. Then I evaluate its empirical implications using party manifesto data, and the cases of the US and Germany. The findings shed light on the relationship between polarization and electoral and party institutions. Polarization over redistribution policies is smaller in countries with PR electoral systems than in countries with majoritarian two-party systems. Moreover, routine voters are more likely to switch from the establishment to populist party leaders in a context of increasing job polarization.


Work in progress

"Automation, Culture, and Vote Choices” 2022. (to be presented at APSA and IPES 2022)

How does revolutionary technological change translate into the political arena? Over the last two decades, we have seen an important restructuring of employment relationships in post-industrial societies, and technological change is widely considered one of the main drivers of these transformations. The emerging literature in political economy has shown that exposure to automation makes individuals more likely to support radical right parties. However, the extant works have not yet identified the mechanisms linking exposure to automation and political behavior. In this paper, I explore the potential mechanisms, focusing on the interplay between economic and cultural factors. Using mediation analysis and survey data from the European Social Survey (2016) for nine European countries, I present evidence that xenophobic beliefs mediate the effects of technological change on support for radical right parties. Moreover, using a Bayesian hierarchical model, I demonstrate that individuals more exposed to technological change are more likely to be politically disengaged. My findings have important implications for understanding the links between structural change in labor markets, cultural backlash, and political inequality.

"That’s What a Populist Would Say!: Measuring Populism Using Machine Learning” 2022. with Michael Colaresi (to be presented at APSA 2022)
"The Threat of Automation and Public Support for Environmental Policy” 2022. with Liam F. Beiser-McGrath and Michaël Aklin (presented at EPG 2022)

Automation -- the replacement of human labor by machines -- has transformed economies around the world over the last decades, with broad political and social consequences. In this paper, we argue that the automation risk also affects individuals' environmental concern and subsequent policy support. The long-term economic risk posed by automation is expected to reduce environmental concern amongst those affected, due to a deprioritisation of long-term issues that also necessitate economic transformation. Automation risk subsequently leads to individuals being less supportive of environmental policy that imposes immediate direct costs, such as carbon taxation. In contrast, support for policies with indirect costs, such as environmental subsidies, will only be affected by automation indirectly, to the extent that it reduces individuals' general environmental concern. Using hierarchical logistic modeling with varying intercepts by country and individual-level data from the European Social Survey (ESS) from 2002 to 2018 for 23 European countries, we present evidence that individuals more exposed to technological change are less likely to hold environmental concerns. Moreover, using causal mediation analysis with data from the eight wave of the ESS (2016), we explore how exposure to automation affect support for environmental policies. Our findings have important implications for understanding how structural transformations in the economy shape individuals' preferences for tackling long-term societal problems like climate change.

"Campaign Contributions and Economic Inequality in the United States” 2022. with Jude C. Hays

Research on the political consequences of economic inequality focuses almost exclusively on relative inequality, using measures such as percentile ratios and gini coefficients for empirical analysis. Measures of relative inequality facilitate empirical comparison across space and time, but they do not always match theories that connect economic and political inequality. We demonstrate with a simple theoretical model that proportionate increases in income, gains that preserve levels of relative inequality in the population but increase levels of absolute inequality, generate greater inequality in campaign contributions from the poor and rich. Using data from U.S. Congressional Districts, we show empirically that greater levels of absolute inequality, rather than relative inequality, are in fact associated with larger differences in the rate at which rich and poor constituents make campaign contributions.

"Love of Variety? Behavioral Determinants of the Opposition to Trade” 2022. with Jude C. Hays and Junghyun Lim

There is a strong empirical association between individually held trade attitudes and nationalism. Unfortunately, the causal mechanisms behind this correlation are poorly understood. Using a survey experiment to develop consumer profiles for respondents randomly exposed to different market conditions, we explore the overlooked possibility that consumption-related decisions, made in markets supplied with internationally diverse products, trigger nationalism, particularly among the subset of the population predisposed to xenophobia. Our results have important implications for understanding the contemporary political backlash against economic globalization as well as for standard "love of variety" models of international trade.

"Protest Diffusion: Unpacking the Spatial and Temporal Contagion of Protest Events” 2022. with Jeffrey Nonnemacher
“Logros sindicales y relaciones de poder: el caso del SUNCA, Uruguay 2005 – 2014.” 2017. XVI Jornadas de Investigación : la excepcionalidad uruguaya en debate: ¿como el Uruguay no hay? See [Spanish]

Esta investigación analiza las transformaciones en las relaciones laborales y el sindicalismo en Uruguay en el periodo 2005 - 2014, a través del estudio del caso del Sindicato Único de la Construcción y Anexos. En primer lugar, se sistematizaron los logros sindicales vinculados a las condiciones de trabajo : libertad sindical, mejoras en la estabilidad laboral, cambios en la duración de la jornada, regulaciones de la cantidad y calidad del trabajo, mejoras en seguridad e higiene y avances en la no discriminación laboral. En segundo lugar, se obtuvo evidencia de que más del 66% del contenido de los acuerdos colectivos referían a aspectos no salariales. Por último, el factor organizativo fue identificado como clave para estas conquistas y se observó una revitalización sindical, a través de relaciones de colaboración entre actores, reformas internas, formas alternativas de participación solidarias y fortalecimiento institucional.





Teaching Assistant (TA)

University of Pittsburgh

Jun 2021 – Present

Graduate Student Assistant (GSA)

University of Pittsburgh

Jun 2020 – Present

Research grants


Master’s Research Scholarship

National Agency of Research and Innovation (ANII)

May 2016 – Mar 2019

Undergraduate’s Research Scholarship

Universidad de la Republica (Udelar), Espacio Interdisciplinario

Apr 2016 – May 2017