The conference convenes scholars developing new theories and gathering evidence on the attitudes and behaviors of citizens, bureaucrats, politicians, and informal elites in developing contexts. By fostering a conversation among scholars working on a range of political behaviors in diverse contexts, we hope to concretize and discuss what constitutes (and how we should understand) political behavior in development. For reference, past conference agendas are available online for last year’s PBD17 and the inaugural PBD16.

MIT GOV/LAB Organizers: Lily Tsai, Daniel Hidalgo, Nina McMurry, Blair Read, Tesalia Rizzo, Leah Rosenzweig, Guillermo Toral, Minh Trinh, Lukas Wolters.

Agenda, November 9th

Bureaucracy Workshop

  • Daniel Tanis, University of Cambridge – “Compliance Shocks Under Low Bureaucratic Capacity”
  • Tara Slough, Columbia University – “Bureaucrats Driving Inequality in Access:
    Experimental Evidence from Colombia”
  • Guillermo Toral, MIT – Chair

Gender Panel

  • Lukas Wolters, MIT – “When Can Candidate Quotas Help Women Reach Executive Office? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Mexico” (with Daniel Hidalgo)
  • Sarah Khan, Yale University – “De Facto Suffrage: A Field Experiment to Improve Women’s Turnout in Pakistan’s National Elections” (with Ali Cheema, Asad Liaqat & Shandana Mohmand)
  • Leah Rosenzweig, IAST and MIT GOV/LAB – Chair


  • Bernardo Zacka, MIT – “Re-Branding the State: The Interior Architecture of British Jobcentres, 1910 to the Present”. How do physical settings mediate our encounters with political institutions? I examine the evolution of the interior architecture of British Jobcentres over the past century, as both reflecting and promoting different modes of engagement between citizens and the state.

Citizen Coordination Panel

  • John Marshall, Columbia University – “Information and Coordination: An Informational Experiment to Improve Electoral Accountability in Mexico” (with Jose Ramon Enriquez, Horacio Larreguy, and Alberto Simpser)
  • Haifeng Huang, University of California, Merced – “Propaganda, the Third-Person Effect, and Collective Protest” (with Nick Cruz)
  • Minh Trinh, MIT – Chair


  • Noah Nathan, University of Michigan – “The Politics of Broker Selection” (with Sarah Brierley)
  • Nina McMurry, MIT – Chair
  • Natalia Bueno, Emory University and Cesar Zucco, FGV – “Do Governments Make Dreams Come True? An Analysis of the Minha Casa Minha Vida Housing” (with Felipe Nunz)
  • Tesalia Rizzo, MIT – Chair

Violence Panel

  • Andrew Miller, MIT – “Citizen-Police Cooperation amid Gang Violence: A Virtual Reality Experiment in Lagos, Nigeria”
  • Maria Micaela Sviatschi, Princeton University – “Making a Gangster: Exporting US Criminal Capital and Development in El Salvador”
  • Blair Read, MIT – Chair

Poster Session, November 8th

  • Ana de Alba, Tufts University – “Local Knows Best? A Survey of Mexican Mayors”
  • Antonella Bandiera, New York University – “The Returned: Repatriations, Elections, and Policy Polarization in El Salvador” (with Carlos Schmidt-Padilla)
  • Asad Liaqat, Harvard University – “Representation through Information: Bringing Politician Actions Closer to Citizen Preferences”
  • Dylan Groves, Columbia University – “Community Based Natural Resource Management from the Outside In – Evidence from Namibia”
  • Guillermo Toral, MIT – “When losers rule: Bureaucratic Reshuffles Under Lame Duck Governments in Brazil”
  • Jeremy Bowles, Harvard University – “Identifying the Rich: Civil Registration and State-Building in Tanzania”
  • Nina McMurry, MIT – “Recognition to Representation: Indigenous Participation in the Philippines”