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American Economic Association awards prize to CEGA for success fostering diversity & inclusion

Press Release

The Center was recognized for its global efforts to address structural barriers that have dogged the economics profession.


SAN ANTONIO, TX (10 Jan 2024) – The American Economic Association (AEA) bestowed its Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion to the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), a research hub at the University of California, Berkeley that generates evidence decision-makers use to reduce global poverty. Accepted by Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and Faculty Co-Director of CEGA Edward Miguel at the annual AEA meeting this weekend, the Center received the award for its strong commitment to diversity and inclusion that has benefited both the economics profession and the community at large.

The award recognized CEGA’s efforts to train scholars from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and other underrepresented groups in rigorous impact evaluation methods, in addition to the Center’s efforts to prioritize diversity and inclusion across its internal processes and structures.

“From the very beginning, CEGA sought to advance African scholars, women, and other underrepresented groups by connecting people and research across our network,” says Miguel. “We’re proud that partners have joined the effort and really honored to be recognized for our work.”

Established by the AEA in 2020, the prize seeks out departments and organizations that have taken productive steps to establish new programs and procedures, to create an inclusive environment, and to increase the participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals in their economics communities (including students, department members and leaders, and invited speakers and honorees).

While the American economics profession suffers from a lack of diversity, African scholars in particular face significant structural barriers: just two percent of the world’s research output is produced by Africans, and less than eight percent of publications on Africa in top economics journals include an African co-author. Since its founding in 2008, CEGA’s earliest programs addressed these barriers by offering capacity-strengthening fellowships, research funding, and networking opportunities to promising early-career scholars from East Africa.

To date, 70 scholars from ten LMICs have pursued a fellowship with the Center and received about $2 million in grant funding to promote their independent research. Those scholars have also trained nearly 1,500 other researchers in their home countries. With seed investments from CEGA, the scholars formed a new organization, the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA), with which CEGA regularly collaborates to host events on the continent.

In 2021, CEGA partnered with NIERA to establish the Collaboration for Inclusive Development Research (CIDR), which investigates barriers to African global development research along various stages of the research-to-policy pipeline: higher education, training and mentorship, publication and co-authorship, and policy translation.

CEGA now also advises other institutions that wish to establish a visiting fellowship programs, including the Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL) at Northwestern University, Evidence on Governance and Politics (EGAP), the Penn Development Research Institute (PDRI), and the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP).

Alongside internal policies and procedures that prioritize diversity and inclusion within the Center, these steps collectively point the way toward a more representative and equitable paradigm for economics as a profession and the development economics community writ large.

“They understand well the direct link between improving our profession’s diversity and inclusion and the development of economic knowledge,” noted the AEA in its announcement to members.

CEGA shares the 2023 award with the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. It joins an esteemed list of past winners, including the Department of Economics at Carleton College, the Department of Economics at Georgia State University, the Department of Economics at Howard University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the University of Missouri.

To learn more about CEGA’s Diversity and Inclusion work, visit Read the full award announcement from the AEA .


Notes to the Editor

About the American Economic Association

Established in 1885, the AEA is a non-profit, non-partisan, scholarly association dedicated to the discussion and publication of economics research. The Association supports established and prospective economists with a set of career-enhancing programs and services. Once composed primarily of college and university professors in economics, the American Economic Association (AEA) now attracts 16,000+ members from academia, business, government, and consulting groups within diverse disciplines from multicultural backgrounds. All are professionals or graduate-level students dedicated to economics research and teaching.

About CEGA

The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is a hub for research, training and innovation headquartered at the University of California, Berkeley. CEGA generates insights that leaders can use to improve policies, programs, and people’s lives. Its academic network includes more than 160 faculty, 65 scholars from low- and middle-income countries, and hundreds of graduate students — from diverse academic disciplines across the globe — that produce rigorous evidence about what works to expand education, health, and economic opportunities for people living in poverty.

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