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 and I will be an Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow for the 2023-2024 academic year. 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


Legislators’ Religiosity and Same-Sex Marriage in Latin America” 2023 with Scott Morgenstern (Forthcoming 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.


El matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo (MPMS) ha marcado la agenda política en muchos países de América Latina, aunque aún es ilegal en muchos países del continente. No obstante, el apoyo público varía mucho en la región, así como también los roles de los tribunales, presidentes y legislaturas. En este artículo nos enfocamos en los legisladores, ya que son los encargados de representar al público y convertir sus demandas en política pública. Si bien muchas legislaturas han discutido el tema, la literatura no ha examinado de manera intensiva las actitudes de estos representantes hacia el MPMS. Para analizar este fenómeno aplicamos un marco teórico que amplía las teorías basadas en el contexto y contacto social, y utilizamos una encuesta implementada a legisladores en la región para estudiar las variables que correlacionan con el apoyo al MPMS. Si bien también evaluamos variables a nivel individual (tales como género e ideología), nuestros modelos se enfocan en el rol contextual de la religiosidad. Los resultados muestran que tener más colegas seculares alienta a los legisladores, incluso a los creyentes, a apoyar el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo.

First View


Research in Progress

Working papers

"Varieties of Polarization in Advanced Democracies: From Economic to Partisan Polarization” 2022. (Invited to Revise and Resubmit at the Journal of Politics - JOP)

While there is little doubt that technological change is generating labor market polarization (LMP), we know much less about how this economic polarization translates into partisan polarization. I argue that the institutional environment moderates the relationship between LMP and partisan polarization, causing different varieties of polarization. I model an electoral competition between mainstream and outsider-populist parties, introducing a credible commitment problem for power-sharing institutions. I explore parties' strategies and identify the conditions under which candidates polarize. In contexts in which candidates and parties must build coalitions to govern, outsider parties' comparative advantage in extreme policies is lessened. Thus, policy differences shrink, but there is polarization over less divisible positions, such as anti-global nationalism. I further explore parties' strategies and highlight that higher LMP benefits the populist party when targeting the exposed group. Finally, I evaluate the theoretical implications using party manifesto data and vote-switching behavior with data from the US and Germany. My results have important implications for understanding the relationship between inequality and partisan polarization.

"The Threat of Automation and Public Support for Environmental Policy” 2022. with Liam F. Beiser-McGrath and Michaël Aklin (presented at EPG 2022, and at Techno debates 2022, Under Review)

The rise of automation has transformed economies around the world. We examine how its effects spill over and affect people's views about environmental issues and policies. We argue that the long-term economic threat posed by automation is expected to reduce environmental concern amongst those affected due to a deprioritization of problems with high levels of uncertainty and that require deep reforms to be addressed. Therefore, we expect automation risk to subsequently reduce support of environmental policy that imposes immediate direct costs, such as carbon taxation. Meanwhile, support for policies with diffuse costs, such as environmental subsidies, will only be affected by automation indirectly, to the extent that it reduces individuals' general environmental concern. Using European Social Survey data from 2002 to 2018 for 23 European countries, our analysis reveals that individuals exposed to automation are less likely to hold environmental concerns and less supportive of carbon taxes that impose immediate visible costs. Mediation analysis suggests that automation reduces support for environmental policies through its negative effect on environmental concern, with this effect being larger for subsidies. 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.

"Automation, Culture, and Vote Choices” 2022. (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 (2012-2016) for thirteen European countries, I present evidence that outgroup threat and nostalgic sentiments mediate the effects of technological change on support for radical right parties and political disengagement. My findings have important implications for understanding the links between structural change in labor markets, cultural backlash, and political inequality.

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

This paper investigages the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on politics by proposing a theoretical framework linking technological change with political apathy. Using hierarchical logistic modeling with varying intercepts by country and survey data from the European Social Survey from 2002 to 2018 for 23 European countries, I present evidence that individuals more exposed to technological change are less likely to feel close to a political party, participate in elections and take part in protests. Those individuals exposed to automation are about 10% less likely to be politically engaged than those respondents without exposure to automation risks. I also demonstrate that income levels and unionization rates substantially moderate the direct link between automation and political engagement. The impact of automation on political engagement is smaller among wealthier citizens and in highly unionized environment. The political message from these interaction effects speaks about the reinforcing forces between economic inequality and automation and the role of collective organization. My findings have important implications for understanding automation politics, political inequality, and the demand (or lack of) for protection.

"When France Sneezes, Does Europe Catch Cold? The Dynamics of Temporal and Spatial Diffusion of Political Protests” 2022. with Jeffrey Nonnemacher (Under Review)

Are protests contained to their specific space and time or do they have the ability to spread across borders and in the future? This question has interested scholars of social movements and political behavior for decades but the literature provides a mixed picture on whether protests diffuse throughout time and space. Using protest event analysis and novel spatiotemporal autoregressive distributed lag (STADL) models designed to capture both temporal and spatial dependence in the same model, we find significant dependencies across both time and space. Protests in one time period shape the onset of protests in the future and protests in one country increase protests in a neighboring country. These results help us understand the dynamics of protest diffusion and have important implications for the study of political behavior and social movements.


Work in progress

"You Can’t Stop It If You Can’t See It: Introducing a New Scalable System to Measure Populist Narratives at Higher Resolution” 2022. with Bree Bang-Jensen and Michael Colaresi (to be presented at MPSA 2023)

The rise of populism across democracies is one of the greatest challenges to the existing world order since World War II. Yet, we only have very limited tools to measure populism within and across countries. Existing approaches rely on human coding, expert surveys, or diction ary-based analysis and suffer from high costs, low comparability, or low validity. To help overcome these limitations, we offer a new middle ground strategy between the expensive but rich qualitative reading of populist language and the cheaper, but coarsest machine coding of sets of texts. We extend the Parsing Unstructured Language into Sentiment-Aspect Representations (PULSAR) project to identify specific sentences and paragraphs as carrying populist narratives. We parse ``us'' versus ``them'' frames, as well as who is determined by the speaker as protecting or threatening ``the people''. We also code common aspects of political speeches such as agreement, opposition, and judgment holder that are not populist-specific. Our system uniquely matches the ``thin-centered'' definition of populism, such that not all utterances from parties ascribed to a populist worldview will carry populist content. To illustrate our contribution, we train our model using recent US Presidential campaig n speeches. Our method has important implications for studying populism's rise worldwide, it’s common patterns and local distinctiveness, especially for countries where researchers cannot afford costly systems.

"Love of Variety? Heterogeneous Responses to Foreign Goods in the Marketplace” 2022. with Jude C. Hays and Junghyun Lim (presented at University of Strathclyde, the Hamburg Empirical Political Science Seminar Series 2022, to be presented at MPSA 2023)

Among those with strongly held nationalist predispositions, do consumption-related evaluations of foreign products intensify feelings of consumption and producer ethnocentrism? Research in political science and economics has identified a strong empirical association between individually held trade attitudes and nationalism. Unfortunately, the causal mechanism(s) behind this correlation are poorly understood. We use a survey experiment to explore the possibility that consumption-related decisions, evaluating the price reasonableness of foreign products, trigger feelings of ethnocentrism. We hypothesize that the average level of consumer ethnocentrism decreases among pre-treatment cosmopolitans asked to evaluate and consider purchasing foreign sports utility vehicles (SUVs), presumably because they are reminded of the price and variety benefits of trade. In contrast, the average level of consumer ethnocentrism increases among pre-treatment nationalists exposed to the same condition due to status threat and other out-group anxieties identified in the literature. 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.

Pre-Analysis Plan

"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.

"How Do Political Elites Respond to Mass-Migration Crises? Evidence from Venezuelan Migration to South America” 2023. with Jose Luis Incio and Guillermo Lezama (to be presented at Universidad de Salamanca 2023)

While parties may slowly adapt their political agendas, crisis events may generate marked short-term reactions by political leaders. In this paper, we examine the responses of political elites in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina to the sudden influx of immigrants from Venezuela. Using computational text-analysis methods over a corpus of over fourteen millions of tweets of legislators between 2013 and 2022, we investigate the short-term impact of the crisis on immigration salience and politicians' positions before, during, and after the first mass south-south migration. Our estimates reveal that attention to immigration increased drastically for all parties in response to the crisis with both right and leftist legislators contributing to its saliency. Surprisingly, most of the communication was positive, with no increase in anti-immigration statements. However, with time all political leaders used a rhetoric more similar to the right regarding the immigration issue after the shock. Moreover, we find that political leaders used strategic framing, with right-wing legislators focusing on the Venezuelan political crisis. Our findings have important implications for policies, as well as for understanding the particularities of South-South migration and how politicians can use these crises for domestic gains.



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

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.

“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.



Research grants


Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow

Mellon Foundation

Aug 2023 – Aug 2024

Social Sciences Doctoral Dissertation (SSDD) Fellowship

University of Pittsburgh

Aug 2022 – Aug 2023

EITM Summer School Fellowship

Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM) Institute

Jul 2022 – Aug 2022

Graduate Student Fellowship

University of Pittsburgh

May 2019 – May 2022

Escuela de Invierno en Métodos y Análisis de Datos, fellowship

US Embassy

Jun 2018 – Jul 2018

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



Instructor of Record

University of Pittsburgh

May 2022 – Aug 2022

Teaching Assistant (TA)

University of Pittsburgh

Jun 2021 – May 2022

Graduate Student Assistant (GSA)

University of Pittsburgh

May 2020 – Aug 2021