Matthew Spearly

headshot of matthew spearly

Matthew Spearly

Mershon Graduate Fellow

Areas of Expertise

  • Political economy, social protection, and inequality
  • Political Behavior
  • Latin America
  • Comparative politics and political methodology


  • M.S., Ohio State University, Political Science (2019)
  • B.A., West Virginia University, International Studies and Criminology (2016)

Matt Spearly is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Ohio State University. His dissertation research centers on the political economy of social protection as well as political behavior in contemporary Latin America. The first part of Matt’s dissertation examines how the commodities export boom of the 2000s and national-level political dynamics contributed to varying patterns of social protection provision—e.g., antipoverty programs, pensions, and unemployment insurance. The second portion considers to what extent these patterns, socioeconomic (im)mobility, and changes to political representation resulted in the recent reemergence of the political right in the region. Finally, the last component of his dissertation focuses on the causes and consequences of governments’ varying responses to the widespread insecurity created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Matt has conducted field research in Argentina and received methodological training from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program as well as The Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research. Within Ohio State, his research has been supported by the Department of Political Science, Center for Latin American Studies, and Mershon Center for International Security Studies. Prior to beginning his Ph.D., Matt attended West Virginia University and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member.