Lindsay R Mayka

Assistant Professor of Government

Office: Diamond 253 [ campus map ]
Phone: 207-859-5314
Fax: 207-859-5229
Office Hours:
M/W 9:00-10:30; Tu/Th 3:40-5:00


B.A., Carleton College
M.P.P., University of California-Berkeley
Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley

Areas of Expertise

  • Latin American politics
  • Interest representation in the policymaking process
  • Civil society organizations and social movements
  • Social policy
  • Democratic quality in developing countries

Courses Currently Teaching

CourseCourse Title
GO253 AIntroduction to Latin American Politics
GO281 BConcepts and Methods of Political Science Research
GO456 ASeminar: Civil Society and Social Change in Latin America

Professional Information

Prior to coming to Colby, Mayka was a post-doctoral Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. In 2013, she received the Latin American Studies Association/Oxfam Martin Diskin Dissertation Award, and she has also received grants from the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright program, and the Javits Foundation. Outside of academia, Mayka has worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, DESCO (a Peruvian NGO), and has consulted for the Open Society Institute and the Hewlett Foundation.

Current Research

Lindsay Mayka’s research interests include popular participation, interest representation in the policymaking process, and the quality of democratic institutions, with a regional focus on Latin America. She is currently writing a book manuscript that examines the how and why experiments in participatory democracy succeed. Mayka’s book manuscript compares the divergent experiences of Brazil and Colombia, two countries that established extensive and comparable national legal frameworks for participatory policymaking – yet with very different results. Two decades after their creation, Brazil’s participatory institutions have developed an institutionalized role in the policymaking process, while participatory policymaking in Colombia exists more on paper than in reality. Mayka argues that national participatory institutions fail attract the extensive political support needed to take root unless they are embedded in a larger policy reform. These findings are based on two years of field research funded by the Social Science Research Council and a Fulbright grant, during which Mayka collected quantitative data, observed countless participatory council meetings, and conducted over 150 interviews. One important implication of this study is that national participatory institutions can help deepen democracy, but are destined to fail if deepening democracy is the main reason for their adoption.

Personal Website


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