Thomas Fujiwara

Bio Outline


  • Fellow
  • Institutions, Organizations & Growth


  • Princeton University
Center for Health and Wellbeing


  • United States


PhD, Economics, University of British Columbia
MA, Economics, University of Sāo Paulo
BA, Economics, University of Sāo Paulo


Thomas Fujiwara’s research examines the role of political factors in shaping public policy, especially in developing countries. It seeks to understand why elected officials fail to provide adequate services and how the design of the electoral process can influence policymaking.

For example, he has studied the introduction of electronic voting that facilitated voting and promoted the de facto enfranchisement of millions of poorer Brazilians, showing that it shifted policymaking in a way that led to tangible benefits to the poor. He has also studied voter behaviour more broadly, including the role of strategic coordination by voters in elections, the role of habit in voter turnout, and how voters respond to campaign messages in field experiments in Benin and the Philippines. His more recent research studies how social norms counteract other economic incentives, with applications to legislative bargaining and women’s human capital investments.

Relevant Publications

Fujiwara, T., K. Meng and T. Vogl, “Habit Formation in Voting: Evidence from Rainy Elections.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Fujiwara, T. and S. Anagol,“The Runner-Up Effect.” Journal of Political Economy.

Fujiwara, T. “Voting Technology, Political Responsiveness, and Infant Health: Evidence from Brazil.” Econometrica, 83(2) (2015) : 423-464.

Fujiwara T. and L. Wantchekon. “Can Public Deliberation Overcome Clientelism? Experimental Evidence from Benin.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(4) (2013) : 241-255.

Fujiwara, T. “A Regression Discontinuity Test of Strategic Voting and Duverger’s Law," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 6(3-4) (2011) : 197–233.