Merike Blofield


I am Professor of Political Science at the University of Hamburg , with a focus on global health and social policy. The enduring question my research addresses is: when and how do governments produce more equity-enhancing policies? With a focus on Latin America, I have analyzed policy areas that intersect social, health, family, gender and labor policy. My current collaborative research projects include: explaining variation in cash transfer policies (forthcoming in the Cambridge Elements series); design and analysis of representative surveys of attitudes toward cash transfers in seven Latin American countries (funded by the German Research Foundation DFG); analysis of policy efforts and outputs on domestic and sexual violence policies (as part of the Lancet Commission on Gender-Based Violence and Maltreatment of Young People, with partial funding from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development BMZ); and a project on detection, diagnosis and treatment of syphilis at the Colombia-Venezuela border (funded by the German Society for International Cooperation GIZ).  I also teach graduate and undergraduate courses on Latin American politics and comparative welfare regimes. 

Before moving over to the University of Hamburg in 2023, I was Director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American Studies for over three years, where I had the pleasure to lead a vibrant community of junior and senior social science scholars researching a broad variety of topics in Latin American politics, society, economics and international relations. My leadership philosophy at the ILAS was to encourage, inspire, and model collaboration as the best means to achieve excellence. This is what we achieved together, when the Leibniz Association's external evaluation committee report in 2022 highlighted the achivements of our institute, stating that the ILAS had "developed excellently into a global reference institution" (pg.44, B-13). Before 2020, I was Professor of Political Science and Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Miami, where I received the May Brunson Award in 2019 for doing the most to improve the status of women at the university. 

New research 

The Oxford Handbook of Governance and Public Management of Social Policy (2023) is out! With Camila Arza and Fernando Filgueira, I am co-editor of the Latin America section. 

Our Lancet Global Health Viewpoint on linkages between cash transfers and intimate partner violence programming in Latin America is out, timed for the International Day to End Violence Against Women, November 25, 2021. 

New policy briefs, blogs and commentaries 

Here is a March 2023 podcast on addressing and supporting survivors of gender-based violence through social protection, in which I participate. 

Here is our October 2022 commentary on the Bolsonaro government's record on gender-based violence policies, in the Latin America Advisor, published by the Inter-American Dialogue.

See our G-7/T-7 final policy brief, published May 2022, Toward a Global Universal Basic Income for Children  

Here is my November 2021 EU-LAC blog calling for a new social contract for children in Latin America, en espanhol aqui 

Here is my November 2021 zoom commentary (at min.44) on the UNDP State of Human Development 2021 Report on Latin America and the Caribbean, presented by Director Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva 

Here is my November 2021 written commentary on gender-based violence policies in the Latin America Advisor, published by the Inter-American Dialogue

Here is a link to an August 2021 interview I did on the Corona crisis in Latin America, with Deutsche Welle. 

Personal profile 

I was born and raised in Finland, and earned my undergraduate and Masters’ degrees at York University in Canada. I completed my Ph.D. at UNC-Chapel Hill, and have spent many years in South America. I have had the fortune to live in many cities across the Americas, and my daughters were born in São Paulo, Brazil. I now live in Hamburg, Germany.