Mart Trasberg, PhD Candidate, Tulane University


I'm a PhD Candidate at the Department of Political Science at Tulane University. I'm also a Research Associate at Commitment to Equity Institute.

My research focuses on the political economy of development, with an emphasis on decentralized public goods provision, income inequality and political violence. In my dissertation and book project, Traditional Institutions, Protest and Local Development in Rural Mexico, I argue that local development outcomes are largely determined by the relative differences in the bargaining power of village communities to demand development funding from higher levels of government. I show that village governance arrangements based on community participation – such as community assemblies and citizen committees in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America – foster the capacity of local leaders to mobilize their communities to organize protests, roadblocks and other violent disruptions in municipal centers and state capitals, giving them greater leverage to demand fiscal resources from state and municipal governments.

My other research focuses on the social protection responses to Covid-19 in Latin America and connections between democratic rule, state capacity, political violence and income inequality in both cross-national and sub-national context.

I also have a strong interest in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, with a particular focus on multi-method research design and causal inference strategies.

My research has been published or is forthcoming at Latin American Politics and Society, Current History and Pensamiento Iberoamericano.

I can be contacted at