Veronica Herrera is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. Her research investigates how urban communities interact with the state to impact the provision of local public services and confront local environmental hazards, with a regional focus on Latin America. Her focus in recent work is on the rise of advocacy networks and environmental litigation surrounding exposure to toxic contamination in Latin American cities. She is author of Water and Politics: Clientelism and Reform in Urban Mexico (University of Michigan Press, 2017) and has published articles in Comparative Politics, World Development and Latin American Politics & Society.
Areas of Expertise (3)
University of California, Berkeley: Ph.D., Political Science
Swarthmore College: B.A.
Media Appearances (1)
It’s not just lead that’s poisoning the water. It’s also politics.
Washington Post print
Politics are what hinder access to safe water in Mexico’s cities — and many of the same political issues also may be at work in U.S. cities.
Decentralization has been promoted as a means to better reflect citizen preferences and improve local services. Many developing countries decentralized and promoted neoliberal policies such as commercialization simultaneously, leaving mayors with the responsibility of improving public services through self-financing reforms. This study evaluates experiences in three Mexican cities to assess whether decentralization and commercialization practices have resulted in improved water and sanitation services. It finds that commercialization has increased social conflict surrounding urban services provision and that local institutional constraints further undermine mayor’s ability to adopt politically contentious policies. The result has been stalled and uneven service improvements.