Dr Nelson Ruiz

Senior Lecturer (R) (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow)
Department of Government
Dr Nelson Ruiz



Welcome to my website. I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Political Economy Research Division at the Government Department at the University of Essex. I am also an Associate Member at Nuffield College University of Oxford, and a research associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR). Before, I was Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and Lecturer at DPIR/Oxford and a Non-Stipendiary Research Fellow at Nuffield College. My research interests are in the political economy of development. Within this field, the main topic I am interested in is the role of money in politics. Most of my research involves the use of causal inference methods. Before I was a post-doctoral researcher at ETH-Zurich Public Policy Group (Chair: Dominik Hangartner), a fellow at Harvard-IQSS and I was part of the Visiting Scholars Program at NYU-Politics department. I completed my PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before academia, I used to work at the Inter-American Development Bank as a research fellow evaluating development projects in the field across Latin America. For more information, please visit my personal website:


  • PhD London School of Economics, (2018)


University of Essex

  • Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Department of Government at the University of Essex. (1/10/2022 - 1/10/2024)

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Doctoral Research Seminar in Political Economy (GV971)


Publications (2)

Robinson, TS., Ruiz, NA. and Ocantos, EG., (2023). Mind and machine: rooting out corrupt politicians

De Magalhães, L., Hangartner, D., Hirvonen, S., Meriläinen, J., Ruiz, N. and Tukiainen, J., (2020). How Much Should We Trust Regression Discontinuity Design Estimates? Evidence from Experimental Benchmarks of the Incumbency Advantage

Journal articles (5)

Harding, R., Prem, M., Ruiz, N. and Vargas, D., (2023). Buying a Blind Eye: Campaign Donations, Forbearance, and Deforestation in Colombia. American Political Science Review. 118 (2), 635-653

Gulzar, S., Rueda, MR. and Ruiz, NA., (2022). Do Campaign Contribution Limits Curb the Influence of Money in Politics?. American Journal of Political Science. 66 (4), 932-946

Gulzar, S., Robinson, TS. and Ruiz, NA., (2022). How Campaigns Respond to Ballot Position: A New Mechanism for Order Effects. The Journal of Politics. 84 (2), 1256-1261

Fergusson, L., Querubin, P., Ruiz, NA. and Vargas, JF., (2021). The Real Winner's Curse. American Journal of Political Science. 65 (1), 52-68

Rueda, MR. and Ruiz, NA., (2020). Political Agency, Election Quality, and Corruption. The Journal of Politics. 82 (4), 1256-1270

Reports and Papers (2)

Hangartner, D., Ruiz, N. and Tukiainen, J., Open or Closed? How List Type Affects Electoral Performance, Candidate Selection, and Campaign Effort

Ruiz, NA., The Power of Money. The Consequences of Electing a Donor Funded Politician

Grants and funding


Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship

Leverhulme Trust



5.420, Colchester Campus