I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I study comparative political behavior using a variety of techniques such as field experiments, surveys, interviews and observational data. All my research is informed by ethnographic fieldwork.
My dissertation, titled “When Clients become Citizens: Intermediaries and Claim-Making in Mexico,” explores how bureaucratic transaction costs prevent individuals from directly claiming welfare benefits. Instead, these costs make citizens dependent on clientelist brokers and intermediaries, who demand political favors in return for access. Drawing on a large-scale field experiment across 150 villages in Yucatán, as well as more than 18 months of fieldwork in Mexico, I find that the clientelist equilibrium can be broken and citizenship strengthened by reducing the costs individuals face in claiming welfare benefits independently and directly.
My broader research agenda incorporates both the demand and supply side of political mediation. I study how informal and clientelist intermediaries shape citizens’ attitudes and political engagement during elections and in the electoral off-cycle. My work also examines how intermediation influences political representation in local politics and the effectiveness of bureaucratic agencies.
Before coming to MIT, I studied Political Science at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). Also, I am currently a Graduate Research Fellow at MIT Governance Lab and a member of the MIT Political Methodology Lab. In January 2019, I will be a pre-doctoral fellow at the Center for US-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Click here to read a very nicely written piece on my work.