Carnegie Mellon University

Ignacio Arana

Ignacio Arana

Assistant Teaching Professor, Institute for Politics and Strategy

  • Posner Hall 380
  • 412-268-1475


Ignacio Arana holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2002), an MA in Political Science from the University of Chile (2007), and an MA and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh (2015).

Dr. Arana is a comparativist that focuses on two lines of inquiry. He specializes in elite behavior by analyzing how the personality traits and other individual differences of heads of government impact executive governance. Second, he studies the consequences of variation in political institutions across countries, with an emphasis on Latin America. He examines executive-legislative relations, informal institutions, gender and politics, and judicial politics.

His main present work is the book project How Leaders Erode Political Institutions: Presidential Personalities and Constitutional Change in Latin America. In this manuscript, he shows that the personality traits of Latin American presidents explain which leaders attempt to change the constitution to increase their powers or extend their terms. He is also integrating the World Leaders Database Project, a database that contains biographical information about the nearly 2,000 national leaders that have governed nations around the world since 1970.

Arana received the Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellowship for the 2021-2022 academic year, which will help the students in his Comparative Politics class, the largest in IPS, feel empowered to participate. 


"The 'Big Five' personality traits of presidents and the relaxation of term limits in Latin America, Democratization, DOI: 10.1080/13510347.2021.1957838 (2021).

“The Quest for Uncontested Power: Presidents’ Personalities and Democratic Erosion in Latin America, 1945-2012.” Political Psychology (2021).  

“Judicial Reshuffles and Women Justices in Latin America.” American Journal of Political Science (with Aníbal Pérez-Liñán and Melanie Hughes) (2020). 

“The Personalities of Presidents as Independent Variables.” Political Psychology, (2020) 

“Executive-Legislative Relations: When do Legislators trust the President?” (with Carolina Guerrero). In Manuel Alcántara, ed., Political Elites and Leadership in Latin America. Book Chapter (2020).

“First Ladies as Members of the Political Elite” [In Spanish] (with Carolina Guerrero). América Latina Hoy 81: 31-49 (2019).

“Comparative Political Elites.” In Ali Farazmand and Mauricio Olavarría-Gambi, eds., The Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Springer International Publishing. Encyclopedia entry (2018).

“The Electoral Emergence of Latin American First Ladies [In Spanish] (with Carolina Guerrero). In L. M. Leibe and J. Suárez-Cao (Eds.), La Política Siempre ha sido Cosa de Mujeres: Elecciones y Protagonistas en Chile y la Región.” FLACSO-Chile. Book chapter (2018).

“Strategic Retirement in Comparative Perspective” (with Aníbal Pérez-Liñán). Journal of Law and Courts 5(2): 173-197 (2017).

“Chile 2016: The Nadir of Democratic Legitimacy?”  [In Spanish] Revista de Ciencia Política 37(2): 305-334 (2017). 

“What Drives Evo’s Attempts to Remain in Power? A Psychological Explanation.” Bolivian Studies Journal 22: 191-219 (2016).

“How to Assess the Members of the Political Elite? A Proposal Based on Presidents of the Americas.”  [In Spanish] Politica 54(1): 219-254 (2016).

“Aftershocks of Pinochet’s Constitution: the Chilean Post-Earthquake Reconstruction.” Latin American Perspectives 44(4): 62-80 (2016).