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Jennifer McCoy

Professor    Professor of Political Science    ,

Ph.D. Minnesota 1985


Polarized democracies, mediation and conflict prevention, election processes and election observation, and Latin American politics


Jennifer McCoy, PhD, is a Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University. She served as Inaugural Director of the Global Studies Institute at GSU (2015-16), and Director of the Carter Center’s Americas Program (1998-2015), leading projects on democratic strengthening, mediation and dialogue, and hemispheric cooperation. A specialist on democratization and polarization, mediation and conflict prevention, election processes and election observation, and Latin American politics, Dr. McCoy has authored or edited six books and dozens of articles. Her latest book is International Mediation in Venezuela (with Francisco Diez, 2011). She teaches courses on comparative democratization, international norms, and Latin American politics.

Dr. McCoy’s newest research project on Polarized Polities seeks to determine the causes, consequences and solutions to polarized societies around the world, including Venezuela, Turkey, Hungary, Egypt, Thailand, Hungary, Greece, Bangladesh, and the United States.
She recently completed a collaborative research project funded by USAID and NSF on Legitimacy Deficits in Transitional Justice in the Colombian Peace Process. Dr. McCoy also participates in an international research team on Causes and Consequences of Populism, comparing Latin America and Europe. She has received research grants and awards from NSF, USAID Center for Democracy, US Institute of Peace, Rockefeller Foundation, North-South Center, and Fulbright Association.

At The Carter Center, Dr. McCoy created the group of Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter group; directed The Carter Center’s projects on Mediation and Monitoring in Venezuela 2002-2004, Ecuador-Colombia Dialogue Group 2008-2010, and U.S.-Andean Dialogue Group 2010-2011; led over a dozen election monitoring missions and organized former President Carter’s historic trips to Cuba in 2002 and 2011. She served as a mediator in Venezuela, and between Ecuador and Colombia.

McCoy is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations; member of the International Women’s Forum; and co-chair of the Atlanta chapter of the Scholar’s Strategy Network.


Recent Books:

Jennifer McCoy and Francisco Diez, International Mediation in Venezuela, (United States      Institute of Peace, Oct. 2011). Published in Spanish by Gedisa Editorial, 2012.

The Unraveling of Representative Democracy in Venezuela. Edited by Jennifer McCoy and David Myers. Johns Hopkins University Press. November 2004. Reprinted with new Epilogue in 2006. Published in Spanish by El Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela, 2007.

Political Learning and Redemocratization in Latin America: Do Politicians Learn from   Political Crises?, edited by Jennifer L. McCoy (Univ. of Miami: North-South Center; Lynne Rienner Press (distributors), 2000).


Selected Articles:

Guest editor with Murat Somer, Special Issue on Polarization and Democracy: A Janus-faced Relationship with Pernicious Consequences, American Behavioral Scientist, 62:1, January 2018.

Jennifer McCoy, Tahmina Rahman, and Murat Somer. “Polarization and the Global Crisis of Democracy: Common Patterns, Dynamics and Pernicious Consequences for Democratic Polities” in Special Issue on Polarization and Democracy: A Janus-faced Relationship with Pernicious Consequences, American Behavioral Scientist, 62:1 (January 2018): 16-42.

Challenging the Norm: International Election Accompaniment in Nicaragua and Venezuela,” Shelley McConnell, Jennifer McCoy, Michael McCarthy, América Latina Hoy, 70 (August 2015): 109-132.

“Legitimacy Deficits in Colombia’s Peace Talks: Elites, Trust and Support for Transitional Justice.” Ryan E. Carlin, Jennifer L. McCoy, Jelena Subotic. Working Paper published by the Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Fellows and Grants Program of IIE/USAID.   May 2015.

“Challenges for the Collective Defense of Democracy on the Tenth Anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter,” Latin American Policy (April 2012).

“Venezuela under Chávez: Beyond Liberalism,” Latin America’s Left Turns: Politics, Policies and Trajectories of Change. Edited by Maxwell A. Cameron and Eric Hershberg. Lynne Rienner Press, 2010.

 Jennifer McCoy and Jonathan Hartlyn, “The Relative Powerlessness of Elections,” in Democratization by Elections, edited by Staffan Lindberg. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

Jonathan Hartlyn, Jennifer McCoy, Thomas Mustillo, “Explaining the Success and Failure of Elections in Latin America,” Comparative Political Studies, Vol 41, No 1, (Jan 2008):73-98. Published in Spanish: “La importancia de la gobernanza electoral y la calidad de las elecciones en América Latina contemporánea,” América Latina Hoy, 51, 2009, pp. 15-40.