The MIT Governance Lab (MIT GOV/LAB) is hosting the third annual Political Behavior of Development Conference (#PBD18) in Cambridge, MA on Friday, November 9, 2018. This year we are doing an open call for abstracts due July 10th (


The conference seeks to convene scholars who are developing new theories and gathering evidence on the myriad ways in which citizens, government actors, and informal elites behave in developing countries. We are particularly interested in understanding how citizens, bureaucrats and elected officials form attitudes, opinions and beliefs that influence overt behaviors, such as social movements, protest, and voting. By fostering a conversation among scholars working on a range of behaviors in diverse contexts, we hope to concretize and discuss what constitutes (and how we should understand) political behavior in developing countries. For reference, past conference agendas are available online for last year’s PBD17 and the inaugural PBD16.


This year’s conference will include a morning panel with paper presentations, an afternoon workshop session, where participants read papers in advance for an in-depth discussion, and a dynamic keynote discussion with academics and practitioners. We will also have a poster session the evening before (Nov 8th, 5-8 pm) for graduate students.

Paper Submission

We invite you to submit abstracts for consideration. We encourage proposals on all topics related to political behavior in developing country contexts. To broaden the topics discussed in this year’s conference, we are particularly interested in proposals investigating:

  • Corruption, (mis)information, and conflict
  • Politics of land, and traditional and non-state elites
  • Gender, race, identity, and colorism in belief and attitude formation
  • Social institutions (e.g., social norms and informal institutions)

We encourage submissions from scholars and practitioners based outside the US who work in low and middle income countries. Limited, but reasonable, travel stipends are available. Priority will be given to work-in-progress over polished projects. Interested participants should submit abstracts of no more than 500 words by July 10th ( Accepted papers will be notified by September 5; complete papers must be submitted by October 20th. If you have any questions, please email us (

Conference organizers: Danny Hidalgo, Lily Tsai, and Nina McMurry, Tesalia Rizzo, Leah Rosenzweig, Blair Read, Guillermo Toral, Minh Trinh, Lukas Wolters