Mart Trasberg, PhD Candidate, Tulane University


I'm a PhD Candidate at the Department of Political Science at Tulane University. I'm also a Graduate 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 traditional village governance arrangements based on community participation – usos y costumbres institutions 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 resources from state and municipal governments.

In other working papers, I explore the 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.

I can be contacted at