I am a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tulane University. I am also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of India (University of Pennsylvania). I received a Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University in 2015.

I study the micro-foundations of clientelism and distributive politics at the local level with a regional focus on India. My research interests include patronage politics,  party-voter linkages,  local governance and voting behavior, state capacity, and survey methods. My book project, When Democracy Serves the Poor: Representation and Responsiveness in Rural India (In Progress)develops and tests a theory of how local  representation and accountability can emerge even in settings of extreme social inequality in the villages of India with consequences for pro-poor distribution. In a series of related articles, which draw on unique behavioral and experimental measures from cross-referenced elite and voter surveys, I measure the extent to which local leaders can effectively monitor voters’ political preferences and votes, local politicians’ preferences over the beneficiaries of targeted benefits, and the effect of co-partisanship on the allocation of private anti-poverty benefits and local public goods–and its implications for strategic voting. Each of these articles develops a novel survey design for capturing local dynamics observed in fieldwork. I am also completing a collaborative project on the quality of state institutions at the district level in India.

My research has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, American Political Science Association, Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) at the University of Pennsylvania, and Pitzer College.  

Contact Information

Political Science
Tulane University
Email: mschneider@tulane.edu