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Matthew Taylor

Justice and Corruption Wonk


Cred PhD in Comparative Politics, Georgetown University; Masters in Public Policy, Georgetown University; BA in Politics, Princeton University

Livelihood Assistant professor, School of International Service

Interests Corruption, crime, courts and development

Focus Understanding the effect courts and justice -- or the lack thereof – have on crime and corruption, and in particular, their effect on the possibilities for development. I’m especially interested in Latin America, and particularly in Brazil.

What's your advice for aspiring Wonks? Embed yourself in the place or phenomenon you want to study. I lived in Brazil for nearly a decade before writing my first book about it, and I don’t think I could have written it without drinking Brazil all in first.

Recent Awards My five-year-old son recently told me I was the best daddy in the world. That one beats the rest, hands down.

Last Book You Read At home: Perilous Fight, by Stephen Budiansky. Who knew that the most forgotten war in US history – the War of 1812 -- was so violently divisive right here in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region? At work: I keep re-reading Diego Gambetta’s books about criminals with my students. His view of mafias as deeply embedded in social structures is always a showstopper.

What Keeps You Up At Night? Finding time to write. There is never be enough time for research!

Are You a Wonk? No doubt. I’ve got the best job in the world -- following interesting questions wherever they lead, and trying to draw socially useful information from them. When I’m not working on my own stuff, I’m usually reading somebody else’s wonkery. My wife mocks me all the time.

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