I will be an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Memphis starting in the fall of 2017. I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law from 2016-2017. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University in 2016. 

My primary research interests are in comparative politics and political economy. My book project asks under what circumstances private market organizations will provide a stable environment for economic exchange. I challenge the conventional wisdom that private good governance thrives when the government keeps its hands off private group affairs. My research  based on a year of fieldwork and original surveys of traders in Lagos, Nigeria  shows instead that leaders among traders behave in ways that promote trade primarily because of the threat of government intrusion. 

Other research projects include a study on the political economy of diversified business groups, a project on casual inter-group interactions in the informal economy, and a paper on the politics of non-compliance with polio vaccination in northern Nigeria. My articles are forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies and World Development.

Email: sgrssman@memphis.edu