Brian Palmer-Rubin received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. His book project examines the participation of small-business and peasant organizations in policymaking in Mexico. While scholars and practitioners argue that civil society participation enhances the success of development policy, interest organizations all too often prioritize state handouts over policy engagement, falling prey to “the patronage trap.” This project combines field research evidence gathered over 18 months with original survey and state subsidy data to show that the ability of organizations to achieve collective action autonomously and the electoral incentives of ruling politicians shape organizational policy participation.
Other projects include an analysis of the electoral effects of indigenous-concentrated districts in Mexico, the relationship between clientelism and interest organizations, and the political participation of the informal sector. This work has been published in Comparative Political Studies and in the edited volume Mexico's Evolving Democracy: A Comparative Study of the 2012 Elections and has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Inter-American Foundation, UC-Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and UC-San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies.
Brian has also published work on the topic of transparency in development spending in Mexico. He collaborated on an article on the effectiveness of Mexico’s transparency institutions in Gestión y Política Pública and has written several policy-oriented publications concerning transparency in Mexican agricultural subsidies, published by the Woodrow Wilson Center.