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I  am a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at WEALTHPOL Project in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Oxford and Nuffield College. I hold a Ph.D. in Political Science (2018) and an MA in Economics (2014) from Duke University, USA. I received my bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Mathematics from Koc University, Turkey (2012).

My broader research examines topics in political economy, comparative politics, and economic history. My work facilitates our understanding of the political consequences of economic and legal inequalities. To illustrate, my research activities embody two separate but correlated lines. The first addresses how different types, levels, and perceptions of inequalities shape personal preferences over redistribution and taxation. The second line investigates how legal, institutional, and social inequalities influence groups’ economic and political behaviors subject to different constraints. I have a regional specialization in Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. I combine formal modeling with laboratory experiments, surveys experiments, geospatial analysis, and archival research.

My dissertation, Redistribution by the Rich: Information, Perceptions, and Preferences, aimed to better understand why high-income individuals exhibit significant support for tax and transfer policies. Several generations of political welfare state scholars insist how the relationship between individual income and support for redistributive policies is not as strong expected in most advanced industrial countries. This finding contrasts sharply with the micro-level assumption that constitutes the building block of many macro- level theories in comparative politics: income is the most influential factor in shaping individual political preferences. To explain puzzling empirical evidence, I developed a theory of preference formation by incorporating individuals’ subjective perceptions of the income distribution into the mechanisms through their decisions about redistributive policies. I, formally and empirically, showed that when individuals are uninformed about income distribution, most high-income individuals tend to underestimate their income rank relative to others in the economy; in turn, this underestimation increases their support for welfare.

Besides my research, I teach courses in political economy, political methodology, mathematics for social scientists, political economy of Islam, and geo-spatial analysis.

Contact Information:

asli.cansunar@nuffield.ox.ac.uk