Asli Cansunar

Assistant Professor


Asli Cansunar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science.  Her research lies at the intersection of comparative political economy, comparative politics, and economic history, focusing on the political consequences of economic inequality. In particular, she works on the preferences of the rich on redistributive and tax policies. She also investigates the distributive impact of these preferences. She combines formal modeling with laboratory experiments, survey experiments, geospatial analysis, and archival research. Most of her research is concentrated in advanced industrialized countries and the Middle East. In addition, she teaches courses on economic inequality, political methodology, politics of the Middle East, and geospatial analysis. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled: Charitable Infrastructure: Distributional Consequences of the Waqf System in Turkey and the Muslim World, which investigates the social, political, and economic effect of philanthropic public good provision using data from the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. Other recent examples of her Middle East-related research include papers under review for publication titled: “Distributional Consequences of Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Self-Serving Philanthropy in Ottoman Istanbul,” “Economic Harbingers of Political Modernization: Peaceful Explosion of Rights in Ottoman Istanbul,” and “Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Electoral Responses to Proximity of Health Care in Istanbul.”


  • Duke University, Ph.D., 2018
  • Duke University, M.A., 2014
  • Koc University, B.S., 2012