Moramay López-Alonso, Ph.D., is a Rice faculty scholar at the Baker Institute and an associate professor of history at Rice University. Between 2001 and 2004, she worked at the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público in Mexico. She was in charge of the research division of its Directorate of International Financial Affairs until 2003, when she was promoted to the advisory staff of the finance secretary. López-Alonso’s primary research interests are on the causes of poverty and inequality in developing and less-developed countries and on the measurement of human welfare. Her first book, “Measuring Up: A History of Living Standards in Mexico, 1850-1950” (Stanford University Press, 2012), traces the high levels of poverty and inequality that Mexico faced in the mid-20th century. The book won the 2013 Mexican History Book Prize from the Conference on Latin American History, and the Spanish edition will be published in 2014 by Fondo de Cultura Económica, the most prestigious academic press in Latin America.
López-Alonso is currently researching the agrarian origins of chaotic urban growth in contemporary Mexico. She is delving into the legal, economic and political factors that connect the problems of urban growth to the implementation of agrarian reform in 20th-century central Mexico. Among other things, she will investigate why and how the government failed to adequately regulate the transition from rural to urban property, and could not then establish a reliable land registry that would allow the collection of property taxes. López-Alonso is also researching and measuring the evolution of human welfare in 18th-century Mexico by studying the 1790 Revillagigedo Census. López-Alonso earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2000.