Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico
Academic Institution: MIT
Discipline and degree conferral date (or expected): Summer 2019
Short list of Research Interests: Political Economy of Development, Comparative Political Behavior, Intermediaries, Bureaucracy, Clientelism, Accountability, Survey and
Dissertation Title: Clients or Citizens?: The Bureaucratic Costs of Claim-Making in Mexico
What attracted you to the CDDRL Pre/post-doctoral program? The amazing intellectual
richness and interdisciplinarity of the group of scholars at CDDRL. I am excited to discuss policy relevant research and engage diverse theoretical perspectives on democracy and development.
What do you hope to accomplish during your nine-month residency at the CDDRL? A book manuscript! In my book, I argue that bureaucratic transaction costs often make it unfeasibly difficult for individuals to pursue welfare benefits directly. Instead, these costs make individuals dependent on clientelist intermediaries, who demand political favors in return for access.
Mediated avenues of distribution prevent individuals from learning to navigate the bureaucracy and experience its processes and thus to see themselves as citizens with rights and entitlements. As a result, instead of strengthening political engagement and citizenship, the pursuit of social welfare benefits tends to intensify ties of dependency and obligation to political parties and their local intermediaries—a process I term the clientelist feedback loop.
Fun fact: By the time I was 13, I knew the lyrics of all Beatles songs, including bootlegs and rarities. For me, singing Revolver on repeat was crucial in mastering spoken English (and in learning about oppressive taxation).