Tesalia is a PhD candidate in Political Science at MIT and a Graduate Research Fellow at MIT GOV/LAB. She studies comparative political behavior using survey and experimental methods as well as ethnographic techniques. Her dissertation explores why and when citizens decide to exit a clientelistic political system. More generally, how programmatic alternatives to informal intermediation and partisan brokerage may (or may not) improve citizen-state relations, mechanisms of accountability and ultimately, citizens’ political engagement during and off elections. With the support of MIT GOV/LAB, she is currently conducting a field experiment to explore the role of partisan brokers and clientelism in accessing state services in 150 rural villages in the state of Yucatan, Mexico.
Starting fall 2019, Tesalia will be a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University. After that, Starting fall 2020 – she’ll be joining the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Merced as Assistant Professor.
Update April 2018
MIT News Features GOV/LAB Research Fellow Tesalia Rizzo
Tesalia Rizzo's graduate research in Mexico "Breaking Up With Political Brokers, Citizens May Find Electoral Independence" was featured in MIT News.
Research March 2018
Unpacking the Black Box of Government Decision-Making
What incentivizes local officials to respond to citizen needs and demands? What constraints, motivations, and considerations influence the behavior of bureaucrats?
Update November 2017
Second Political Behavior of Development Conference at MIT
We convened a second annual PBD conference on what determines citizen expectations of the state, support for justice, electoral and nonelectoral participation, and bureaucratic behavior.
Update September 2017
Innovation in Transparency Award Given to GOV/LAB Partner Participando por México
The winning website, Ciudadano Contigo, provides first-ever online access to local government welfare programs and eligibility information for Mexican citizens.
Update August 2017
Off-center Middlemen: Biased Brokers in Mexico
GOV/LAB intern Siena Harlin (Wellesley ‘18) reports back on clientelistic culture in Mexican government from two months of fieldwork in Yucatán, Mexico
Research August 2016
When Clients Exit: Alternatives to Clientelism in Accessing State Services in Mexico
GOV/LAB is conducting a field experiment to explore the role of brokers and clientelism in accessing state services in Mexico.