Mariely Lopez-Santana

Photo of Mariely Lopez-Santana
Titles and Organizations

Associate Professor

Contact Information
Phone: 703-993-9479
Fairfax Campus, Aquia Building, Room 321
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
MSN: 3F4


Professor Mariely López-Santana is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She is the Faculty Director of the Pillars of Research Learning Community.  Dr. López-Santana earned her PhD in 2006 from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Dr. López-Santana’s research and teaching interests are threefold:

(1) the politics and governance of welfare states, and employment and social policies in post-industrial states;

(2) States’ reactions to a variety of social problems, including labor market exclusion, fiscal and financial crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, and gang activity; and 

(3) the politics, policies, and governance of multilevel systems, including her current book project on the Puerto Rican financial crisis. 

She has also published work on the topic of Europeanization, as well as on new modes of governance (including soft law in the European Union). 

Her first book entitled The New Governance of Welfare States in the United States and Europe: Between Decentralization and Centralization in the Activation Era (SUNY Press, 2015) explores contemporary changes in the organization of welfare states in Italy, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US.  Her second book will explore the governance of municipal bond crises in the US, but with particular attention to the case of Puerto Rico, which represents the largest debt restructuring in the history of the US.

Prior to joining GMU, she was Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). In addition, in 2010 she was granted 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, Spain), SCORE (Stockholm, Sweden), Juan March Foundation (Madrid), and the Free University of Brussels. In addition to being bilingual, she has a working knowledge of Italian and Dutch.

Dr. Lopez-Santana is a past director of both the School's MA and PhD programs in Political Science. She is the co-director of the "Minority Graduate Placement Program" (MIGAP) and the NSF-funded Mobilization and Political Economy Summer Program. She is also a member of the Executive Board Member of the Comparative Federalism and Multilevel Governance Section (Research Committee 28) from the International Political Science Association.  Finally, she is the book review editor for Publius: The Journal of Federalism.

View Mariely López-Santana's CV

Areas of Research

  • Comparative Federalism and Multilevel Governance
  • Comparative Politics
  • Comparative Welfare States
  • Governance of Municipal Bond Markets in the United States
  • Have published on the following countries/regions: European Union, Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, United States, and United Kingdom.
  • Social Policy in United States and Western Europe
  • The Political Economy of Post-Industrial States
  • The State: A Comparative Perspective