Alicia Dailey Cooperman
Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science
Comparative Politics and Methodology
Columbia University




My research focuses on the political economy of development, distributive politics, environmental politics and policymaking, and statistical methods, with a regional focus in Latin America. My broader research agenda studies the politics of natural disasters, natural resource management, and climate adaptation.

I study politics at the intersection of development and the environment. I focus on the way that collective action interacts with local politics to influence sustainable development. By combining a deep understanding of the social and political realities of local contexts with cutting-edge climate data, my research illuminates the relationship between human and natural systems.

I study how access to water can be used as a political tool, especially in drought-prone areas. As we face a growing issue of water scarcity, my findings help policymakers to improve water access, manage common resources, and strengthen drought resilience.

My book project, Trading Favors: Local Politics and Development in Brazil, argues that groups trade their votes to shape local politics and influence the distribution of public services, especially water. My research makes a theoretical contribution to our understanding of distributive politics by emphasizing the agency of organized poor citizens in their interactions with brokers and politicians.

Job Market Writing Sample: Trading Favors Theory Chapter and Main Empirical Chapter

My work has been published in Political Analysis, and I have received generous funding from multiple sources including the Fulbright-Hays Program and Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP).

I have conducted extensive applied research in Brazil (18 months in 2016-2017) using field experiments, survey experiments, original household surveys, analysis of climate and electoral data, and qualitative methods. My methods training includes field experiments and randomization inference, multilevel models, regression discontinuity, limited dependent variable and panel data, and ArcGIS.

Ph.D. expected in May 2019. I received a Master in International Affairs (MIA) in 2013 from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy (formerly IR/PS). I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 2008 with a B.A. in Human Biology.