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Working Group in African Political Economy

WGAPE is an international forum for academic researchers who combine deep field research experience in Africa with training in political economy methods.

Founded in 2002, the Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE - pronounced "wah-gah-pay") brings together west coast-based faculty and advanced graduate students in Political Science and Economics who combine deep field research experience in Africa with training in political economy methods. The group meets semi-annually to discuss the work-in-progress of its regular members and invited guests. It is co-led by Daniel Posner (Department of Political Science, UCLA) and Edward Miguel (Department of Economics, UC Berkeley).

Meetings are built around in-depth discussions of seven or eight papers (see the archive of papers discussed at past WGAPE meetings). The emphasis is on discussion rather than presentation, and members are encouraged to present work in progress on which they would like feedback from the group.

Papers presented at WGAPE meetings have been published in many of the leading journals in Political Science and Economics, including the Journal of Political Economy, the American Political Science Review, the Journal of African Economies, World Politics, African Affairs, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the Review of Economic Studies, and the Review of African Political Economy, as well as in several edited volumes.

Since its inception, three sister networks have formed which carry out similar objectives of WGAPE meetings. These include:

WGAPE Faculty Members

Former Graduate Student Members (now Faculty)

  • Jenny Aker, Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Marcella Alsan, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford University
  • Alicia Bannon, Democracy Program, New York University School of Law
  • Christopher Blattman, Department of Political Science, Columbia University
  • Jennifer Brass, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
  • Marshall Burke, Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University
  • Elizabeth Carlson, Department of Political Science, Pennsylvania State University
  • Kim Dionne, Department of Government, Smith College
  • Catherine Duggan, Harvard Business School
  • Willa Friedman, Department of Economics, University of Houston
  • Guy Grossman, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • Jonas Hjort, Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School
  • Barak Hoffman, Department of Government, Georgetown University
  • Jeremy Horowitz, Department of Government, Dartmouth College
  • Susan Hyde, Department of Political Science, Yale University
  • Nahomi Ichino, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan
  • Ryan Jablonski, Department of Government, London School of Economics
  • Danielle Jung, Department of Political Science, Emory University
  • Kimuli Kasara, Department of Political Science, Columbia University
  • Eric Kramon, Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Carl LeVan, School of International Service, American University
  • James Long, Department of Political Science, University of Washington
  • Zachariah Mampilly, Department of Political Science, Vassar College
  • John McCauley, Department of Political Science, University of Maryland
  • Gwyneth McClendon, Government and Social Studies, Harvard University
  • Brian Min, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan
  • Ryan Sheely, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Daniel Young, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University

Papers Discussed at WGAPE Meetings

(Some of the links below are to subsequently revised and/or published versions of the papers presented at WGAPE. Paper presenters marked with an * were outside guests of WGAPE.)

9-10 January 2015, University of Washington

16-17 May 2014, UC Los Angeles

19 December 2013, UC Berkeley


3-4 May 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Amanda Robinson "Internal Borders: Ethnic Diversity and Market Segmentation in Malawi"
  • Tavneet Suri "The Political Economy of Ethnicity and Property Rights in Slums: Evidence from Kenya"
  • Mauricio Velasquez "Geographic Variation in Ethnic Political Mobilization"
  • Omar Garcia Ponce and Benjamin Pasquale "How Political Violence Shapes Trust in the State: Survey Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa"
  • Raul Sanchez de la Sierra "Bandits or States: Evidence on the Origins of States from Armed Groups in Eastern Congo"
  • Christopher Blattman "The Economic and Social Returns to Cash Transfers: Evidence from a Ugandan Aid Program"
  • Julia Cagé "The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub-Saharan Africa"
  • Guy Grossman "Renewalist Christianity, Political Competition and the Political Saliency of LGBTs in sub-Saharan Africa"

10 November 2012, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

24-25 May 2012, UC Berkeley

30 March 2012, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

9-10 December 2011, Stanford

20-21 May 2011, UCSD


17-18 December 2010, UC Berkeley


30 April-1 May 2010, Pomona College


11-12 December 2009, UC Berkeley


15-16 May 2009, UCLA


5-6 December 2008, UC Berkeley


16-17 May 2008, UCLA


14-15 December 2007, Stanford


20-21 April 2007, Stanford


1-2 December 2006, UCLA


14-15 April 2006, UC Berkeley


14-15 October 2005, Santa Clara University


13-14 May 2005, UCLA


17-18 December 2004, Caltech


4-5 June 2004, UCSD


12-13 March 2004, Pomona College


5-6 December 2003, UCLA


2-3 May 2003, UCLA


31 January-1 February 2003, UCLA


27-28 September 2002, UCLA