Dr. McNulty, Professor of Government, is a Latin Americanist with expertise in local participatory governance, gender, decentralization, and development. Her 2021 book, Participatory Budgeting in Global Perspective, provides a theoretical and empirical explanation to account for widespread variation in the adoption, adaptation, and impacts of participatory planning in local governments.
Dr. McNulty’s 2019 book, Democracy from Above?, explores the effect of nationally mandated participatory reforms in the developing world. These reforms are becoming more common in countries seeking to reduce the gap between dissatisfied citizens and unresponsive subnational governments. The book tests the hypothesis that top-down national participatory reforms strengthen democratic governance over time. The first cross-national comparison on this issue, Democracy from Above? specifically asks whether the reforms effectively redress the persistent problems of discrimination, elite capture, clientelism, and corruption in the countries that adopt them. As officials and reformers around the world look to strengthen citizen involvement and confidence in the political process, this book provides a clear understanding of the possibilities and limitations of nationally mandated participatory reforms.
Dr. McNulty’s current projects continue to document the effect of nationally mandated participatory institutions on local democracy and governance around the world as well as the issue of social inclusion and local governance. Her work suggests that participatory institutions are not naturally inclusive and that historically marginalized populations are not engaged equally in forums and meetings.
Her research has been published in Latin American Politics and Society, the Journal of Development Studies, and the Journal of Public Deliberation, among other scholarly outlets. She is also the author of Voice and Vote: Decentralization and Participation in Post-Fujimori Peru (Stanford University Press, 2011), which explores the origin and implementation of a Peruvian decentralization reform that is considered to be one of the most participatory in Latin America.
Professor McNulty is currently chair of her department and recently completed a three year term as the Inaugural Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives at Franklin and Marshall College. In this role, she oversaw a $1.6 million grant to create a more inclusive and equitable campus.
Dr. McNulty has worked, lived, and conducted extensive fieldwork in Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru. 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, Professor McNulty worked for several years in the field of international development as a program manager and a monitoring and evaluation specialist. This experience has allowed her to work as a consultant for USAID-funded projects around the world, including Guatemala, Bolivia, Liberia, and Peru.