Stephanie McNulty The Honorable & Mrs. John C. Kunkel Professor of Government



Dr. McNulty, Professor of Government, is a Latin Americanist with expertise in participatory governance, gender, decentralization, and development. Visit her website here.

She is the author of  Participatory Budgeting in Global Pespectove and Democracy from Above?, which explore the effects of nationally mandated participatory reforms in the developing world. She also published Voice and Vote: Decentralization and Participation in Post-Fujimori Peru (Stanford University Press, 2011), which explores the origin and implementation of Peru's 2002 decentralization reform, considered to be one of the most participatory in Latin America. McNulty is a global expert on participatory democracy reforms as well as Peruvian politics, and has contributed to several volumes and reports about their emergence and impact. Dr. McNulty's work has been published in several academic journals, such as Comparative Political Studies, Latin American Politics and Society, and the Journal of Development Studies.  

During the pandemic, Dr. McNulty collaborated with student researchers and Church World Service to document the experience of undocumented immigrants in Lancaster, PA. Read the report here

Dr. McNulty has worked, lived, and conducted extensive fieldwork in Chile, Honduras, Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala. She has a Ph.D. in Political Science from The George Washington University and a M.A. in Political Science from New York University. In addition to studying, teaching, and researching in several Latin American countries, Dr. McNulty worked for several years in the field of international development as a program manager and a monitoring and evaluation specialist. This experience led her to work on many USAID-funded projects around the world, including Guatemala, Bolivia, Liberia, and Kosovo.


Select Publications

2023. “Technocracy for the People? The Impact of Government Imposed Democratic Innovations on Governance and Citizen Well-being.” with Co-authored Jared Abbott and Katherine McKiernan (’15, F&M). Comparative Political Studies.

2023. “Participatory Budgeting and Well-being: Governance and Sustainability in Comparative Perspective.” Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management. Co-authored with Brian Wampler and Mike Touchton.

2023. “Participatory Budgeting and Community Development: A Global Assessment.” American Behavioralist Scientist. Co-authored with Brian Wampler and Mike Touchton.

2019. Democracy from Above? The Unfulfilled Promise of Nationally Mandated Participatory Reforms. Stanford University Press.

2018. “Embedded Exclusions: Exploring Gender Equality in Peru’s Participatory Democratic Framework.” Global Discourse, 8:3, 532-549.

2017. “The Fujimori Effect: Political Instability and Paralysis in Peru.” NACLA.

2017. “Perú 2016: Continuity and Change in an Electoral Year.” Revista de Ciencia Política.

2016. “Peru’s Participatory Decentralization Reform.” Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_2571-1

2015. “Barriers to Participation: Exploring Gender in Peru’s Participatory Budget Process.” Journal of Development Studies 51(11). 1429-1443.

2015. “Mandating Participation: Evaluating Guatemala’s Top Down Participatory Governance System Pensamiento Propio 40Special issue on “Citizen Participation in Latin America.

2014. “US helped create crisis along border.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. July 31.

2013. "Institutions of Participatory Governance: Latin America's Response to a Failing Party System." SpazioFilosofico 9: 415-427.

2013. “Participatory Democracy? Exploring Peru’s Efforts to Engage Civil Society in Local Governance.” Latin American Politics and Society 55, 3: 69-92.  Download PDF.

2012. “An Unlikely Success: Peru’s Top-Down Participatory Budgeting Experience,” Journal of Public Deliberation 8(2), Article 4.

2011.Voice and Vote: Decentralization and Participation in Post-Fujimori Peru. Stanford University Press.  (Reviewed in Perspectives on Politics and Comparative Political Studies)

2011. “Does Participatory Governance Matter? Exploring the Nature and Impact of Participatory Reform,” co-authored with Brian Wampler. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC.

2011. “In leading women, U.S. lags.” The Philadelphia Inquirer A11, January 4.

2007. “Participación y sociedad civil: Las experiencias con los CCRs y los presupuestos participativos en el Perú.” In Aldo Panfichi (ed.) La Participación Ciudadana en el Perú. Disputas, confluencias y tensiones. Lima, Peru: Fondo Editorial de la Pontificia Universidad Católica.

2007.“Decentralization and Participatory Local Governance: A Decision Space Analysis and Application to Peru.” Co-authored with Jennifer and Derrick Brinkerhoff. In Dennis Rondinelli and Shabbir Cheema (eds.) Decentralizing Governance: Devolution, Capacity, and Partnership. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.



Professor McNulty has a Ph.D. in Political Science from The George Washington University and a M.A. in Political Science from New York University. She also has a B.A. in Politics from Washington and Lee University.


Grants & Awards

  • Hewlett Foundation. “The State of the Art of Participatory Budgeting.” With Brian Wampler and Mike Touchton. 2017.
  • American Association of University Women American Postdoctoral Fellow. 2012-2013.
  • American Political Science Association’s Small Research Grant. 2012.
  • Faculty Hackman and Committee on Grants Awards. Franklin & Marshall College.
  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, Peru. November 2004 – October 2005.
  • Fulbright Scholar, Peru. January - October 2004
  • Consortium for Qualitative Research Methods, Tempe, Arizona. January 2003.
  • George Washington University Fellow, George Washington University, Washington, DC. 1999-2002.
  • Research Fellow, PromPerú, Lima, Peru. 1996.
  • Rotary International Fellow, Santiago, Chile. 1992-1993. Graduate study at Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile.


Course Information

Power and Politics

Latin American Politics

Politics of Development