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Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE) Fall 2016


The Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE) brings together faculty and advanced graduate students in Economics and Political Science who combine field research experience in Africa with training in political economy methods. It is co-led by Brian Dillon (Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington), Edward Miguel (Department of Economics, UC Berkeley), and Daniel Posner (Department of Political Science, UCLA). Thanks to the Stanford Center for International Development (SCID), WGAPE will be able to provide funding for travel, accommodation, and related expenses to accepted WGAPE participants.

This call for papers and research designs is for the WGAPE Fall Regional Meeting, to be held November 18-19, 2016 at the Stanford Center for International Development (SCID). 

The meeting will begin on Friday mid-day, November 18th, and end mid-day on Saturday, November 19th. Sessions are built around in-depth discussions of papers that are circulated and expected to be read in advance (see an archive of papers from past WGAPE meetings). Presenters provide little more than a few brief, orienting comments before the floor is opened for discussion. WGAPE is more a forum for presenting work in progress than polished, finished projects and provides an unparalleled opportunity for useful feedback. We invite applicants to submit research in its early stages, including pre-analysis plans and research designs. 

Paper submissions must reflect WGAPE’s broad research agenda on core issues within the political economy of African development, including ethnic politics, civil conflict and violence, decentralization and democratization, and corruption, local governance, and related topics. Graduate students are particularly encouraged to apply and choice of papers will be based on both full paper submissions and extended abstracts.  

  • Papers must be uploaded here by 11:59pm PT on October 3, 2016.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by October 17, 2016 and will be invited to attend the full symposium. WGAPE will cover the cost of economy travel, accommodation and dining (capped). 

For further information, please contact Corinne Cooper (CEGA) at Non-presenters who do not require accommodation or travel funding are welcome to attend the meeting as space permits (travel funding may be extended to local attendees). Please email with your name, institution, and days you would like to attend and we will confirm whether or not we can accommodate.

Date and Time

Nov 18, 2016 — Nov 19, 2016


Stanford Center for International Development


November 18th, 2016

11:30am-12:30pm Lunch

12:30-1:30pm Lauren Bergquist: “Competition, Entry, and Pass-Through in Agricultural Markets: Experimental Evidence from Kenya

1:30-2:30pm Shelby Grossman: “Reputation and relational contracting: Experimental evidence on contracting frictions in West African trade”

2:30-2:45pm Coffee

2:45-3:45pm Kate Casey: “Snap Judgements: Forecasting Politician Productivity under Limited Information”

3:45-4:45pm Anja Tolonen: “Extractive Industries, Production Shocks and Criminality: Evidence from a Middle-Income Country

Short break

5:45pm Happy hour

7:30pm Dinner

November 19th, 2016

8:30am Breakfast

9:00-10:00am Danny Choi: “Instruments of Control: Party Leader Endorsements and Candidate Selection in Africa”

10:00-11:00am Claire Adida: “Overcoming or Reinforcing Coethnic Preferences? An Experiment on Information and Ethnic Voting

11:00-11:15am Coffee

11:15am-12:15pm Marie Lechler: “Decentralized Despotism? Indirect Colonial Rule Does Undermine Contemporary Democratic Attitudes


1:30-4:00pm Book discussion: “Africa’s Unfulfilled Promise and the Path to the Future” (David Laitin and Darin Christensen)

An afternoon workshop of David and Darin’s new manuscript. This books asks why, on the dimensions of prosperity, good governance and security, independent states in sub-Saharan Africa have fallen behind or failed to catch other regions. It documents the region’s performance over the last five decades and then surveys social scientists’ best explanations for why sub-Saharan African countries have, on average, struggled to fulfill the promises of their independence movements and alleviate poverty, build accountable governments and maintain order. One goal of the book is to synthesize and make accessible rigorous social science — much of which was written by WGAPE members.