FM Development Lab


The F-M Development Lab is a research group at Cornell University focused on addressing questions related to political and economic development. Our main areas of interest include state capacity (public safety / policing / militarization, taxation), economic reforms (trade agreements, tax reforms), and the quality of democracy (inequality, elites, political parties). We rely on a range of statistical, experimental, and qualitative research methods to answer questions related to these topics.

Our research has been funded by National Science Foundation (NSF), Cornell’s Center for the Study of Inequality, CIDE’s Social Science Experimentation Unit, and the International Center for Tax and Development (ICTD), among other sources.

Current Projects


Julius Lagodny is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Cornell University, focusing on political behavior and public opinion. In his dissertation he explores how neighborhoods shape political attitudes and political participation, particularly among immigrant-origin communities in Europe. His research has been published in Statistics, Politics, and Policy, PS: Political Science & Politics, and University of Miami Law Review, among others.

Vincent Mauro is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Cornell University, focusing on comparative politics and the politics of inequality. His research on the relationship between party systems and redistribution in Latin America has been published in the Latin American Research Review and the Journal of Comparative Politics.

Pablo Scuticchio is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Cornell University. His research focus is on criminal politics, electoral violence, and party institutionalization. 

Jessica Zarkin is a PhD candidate in Government at Cornell University and a fellow at the Center for the Study of Security, Intelligence, and Governance at ITAM. Her research focuses on policing, police organizations, and the linkages between state institutions and citizens in democracy. Her publications include articles in Perspectives on Politics and the British Journal of Political Science.

Affiliated Faculty Alumni

Dr. Mariano Sánchez-Talanquer is assistant professor at the Center for International Studies at El Colegio de Mexico and Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He received a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University and won the 2018 William Anderson Award to the best dissertation in the general field of federalism or intergovernmental relations, state, and local politics, from the American Political Science Association (APSA). His research has been published in the American Political Science Review, BMJ Global Health, Journal of Democracy, Latin American Politics and Society, PLOS One, Politics & Society, and Revista de Ciencia Politica, among others.

Dr. Jimena Valdez is lecturer in the Department of International Politics at City, University of London. Her research, published in the Journal of Comparative Politics focuses on the strategies business and labor employ to deal with the political, economic, and technological challenges presented by globalization. She received her PhD in Government from Cornell University and is completing a book on business sectors’ opposition to the liberalization of labor relations.


If you are interested in learning more about the lab or looking for opportunities to get involved, email us at