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Working Group in African Political Economy


Founded in 2002, the Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE – pronounced “wah-gah-pay”) is a network of researchers with deep field experience that meets regularly to provide structured feedback on in-progress (“working”) research papers related to the theme of African political economy. This includes topics such as civil conflict, decentralization and democratization, public economics, corruption, local governance, and other related issues on the continent. As WGAPE continues to grow,  we are cognizant of persistent inequities in the production of scholarship about the political economy of Africa, and the value of cross-continental collaboration.

WGAPE fills a number of important, neglected gaps in both the production and dissemination of frontier research on the political economy of African development. By bringing together economists and political scientists, as well as graduate students and faculty, WGAPE promotes cross-fertilization of ideas in a manner that is increasingly rare in academia. Meetings feature discussions of in-progress research by faculty and graduate students in Economics, Political Science, and closely related disciplines. The emphasis is on deep discussion rather than presentation, which provides unparalleled opportunities for critical, constructive feedback.

WGAPE has expanded our network to include many more Africa-based scholars, which has allowed us to increase the intellectual breadth of the meetings, deepen learning for both African and non-African scholars, foster new collaborative relationships, and increase the policy impact of research presented at WGAPE meetings. WGAPE is hosted by CEGA and is co-led by Daniel Posner (Political Science, UCLA), Edward Miguel (Economics, UC Berkeley), Amanda Robinson (Political Science, Ohio State University), and Amma Panin (Economics, University of Louvain), and hosted by the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at UC Berkeley.


WGAPE Meetings

WGAPE holds several meetings throughout the year, each typically attended by 25-40 people and featuring discussion of roughly seven in-progress works by African political economy scholars. WGAPE employs a unique conference format where all participants read the papers before the meeting, and during the hour allotted to each paper participants hold a roundtable discussion to offer constructive feedback to the offers. WGAPE actively seeks to build links between scholars of African political economy in the U.S. and Africa. Meetings often feature trainings in impact evaluation and research transparency for junior scholars and scholars from developing countries and matchmaking workshops to facilitate connections between these researchers and more senior scholars.

WGAPE holds an annual meeting every summer on the African continent to discuss in-progress work from scholars from across Africa, the U.S., Canada, Europe, and other regions. With generous funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, WGAPE brings six scholars affiliated with African institutions to attend each annual meeting. Several “regional” meetings are independently organized across the US to connect scholars in their respective areas of the country; CEGA organizes an annual West Coast regional meeting each fall.

Small Grant Competitions
WGAPE holds an annual Small Grant Program for junior African researchers to explore a question of interest in African political economy and development economics in sub-Saharan Africa, including civil conflict, decentralization and democratization, public economics, corruption, local governance, and applied microeconomics of development in Africa.

Successful applicants are matched with a senior researcher from the WGAPE organizers or executive committee, who provide feedback and general guidance on the project.  Grantees present their research design and/or working papers at annual WGAPE meetings. 


William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


Executive Committee
Belinda Archibong (Barnard)
Carolyn Chisadza (Pretoria)
Brian Dillon (Cornell)
Karen Ferree (UCSD)
Willa Friedman (Houston)
Andy Harris (NYU Abu Dhabi)
Mai Hassan (Michigan)
Nahomi Ichino (Emory)
Kimuli Kasara (Columbia)
Eric Kramon (GWU)
Justice Mensah (World Bank)
Noah Nathan (Michigan)
Fiona Shen-Bayh (William & Mary)
Jeremy Weinstein (Stanford)
Aimable Nsabimana (University of Rwanda)
Laura Nelima Barasa (University of Nairobi)
Amanda Lea Robinson (OSU)
Amma Panin (University of Louvain)
Daniel Posner (UCLA)
Ted Miguel (UC Berkeley)

WGAPE Research

Global Networks

“Shades of Gray”: The Impact of Pastoralists Violent Conflict Frames on Citizens' Political Attitudes

Efobi Uchenna | Nigeria
Global NetworksHealth & Psychology

Effect of a shortened anti-TB regimen on treatment success in Kampala, Uganda

Jonathan Izudi | Uganda
Global NetworksAgricultureInstitutions & Governance

The Impact of the Kenya 2008 Post-Election Violence on Rural Farm Households

Laura Nelima Barasa | Kenya
View More WGAPE Research

WGAPE Resources

Global Networks

WGAPE 2021 Annual Meeting RFP

Request for Proposals
Global Networks

Transportation Choices, Fatalism, and the Value of Life in Africa

Research Publications
Global NetworksInstitutions & Governance

Experimental Evidence on External Aid and Community Institutions in Sierra Leone

Research Publications   |   Institutions & Governance
Global Networks

Great Expectations: Ethnicity, Performance, and Ugandan Voters

Research Publications
Global Networks

Collective Action in Diverse Sierra Leone Communities

Research Publications
Global NetworksInstitutions & Governance

What Explains the African Vote? Using Exit Poll Data from Kenya to Explore Ethnicity and Government Performance in Vote Choice

Research Publications   |   Institutions & Governance
View More WGAPE Resources


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