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Mariely Lopez-Santana

Associate Professor, Director of Political Science Doctoral and Master's Programs
Mariely Lopez-Santana



Research Hall Room 351, MSN: 3F4
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030




Prof. Mariely López-Santana is an Associate Professor of Political Sceince at the Schar School. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2006. Prior to joining George Mason University, she was a Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). In addition, in 2010 she received a grant to be an Erasmus Mundus MAPP Visiting Scholar at the Institut Barcelona D' Estudis Internacionals (IBEI).

She has also been a visiting scholar at the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies (Madrid), SCORE (Stockholm), Juan March Foundation (Madrid), and the Free University of Brussels. Currently, she is an honorary member at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Spain).

Her main field of study is Comparative Politics. Her research and teaching interests include comparative welfare states and social policy; comparative federalism (including intergovernmental relations, multilevel governance, and decentralization); European Union Politics and Europeanization; new modes of governance and soft law; and theories of the State. She has also worked on employment policies and labor market policies in advanced industrial states,  including Spain. Her book entitled The New Governance of Welfare States in the United States and Europe: Between Decentralization and Centralization in the Activation Era was published by SUNY Press in 2015 explores changes in the organization of welfare states in Italy, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the United States.   In addition, she has written for the Monkey Cage (Washington Post) and El Nuevo Dia.  

Dr. Lopez-Santana is currently working two research projects: (1) a project on fiscal oversight boards around the world, and 2) the reaction of States to gangs, such as MS-13. 

Areas of Research

  • Advanced Industrial States
  • Comparative Federalism
  • Comparative Politics
  • Comparative Welfare States
  • Employment Policy
  • European Union
  • Fiscal Oversight Boards
  • Gangs
  • Governance
  • Social Welfare Policy