…this paper investigates two potential explanations for the gender gap in participation: asymmetric costs to participation and deficits of civic information…I examine whether increasing civic information and skills can close the gender gap in civic participation. I find it cannot – and the particular intervention I study even exacerbates the problem. Experimental evidence reveals that a randomly assigned civic education intervention in Mali increased civic participation among men while causing a decrease among women. Focus groups and interviews suggest that, in a place where women are traditionally unwelcome actors in the public sphere, the intervention heightened the salience of women’s participation thus increasing social costs to participation. As evidence of a more general phenomenon, I show that socio-economic determinants of gender discrimination within Mali help explain cross-country variation in the gender gap in civic participation on the African continent.
That is from the introduction of a working paper, Why women participate less in civic activity: Evidence from Mali, by Jessica Gottlieb to be discussed at next week’s MGAPE (Midwest Group in African Political Economy) meeting, hosted by Indiana University care of Jen Brass, one of MGAPE’s founding members.
I hope to be updating from the meeting next Friday. The other papers on the docket are:
- Marc F. Bellemare & Tara L. Steinmetz: All in the Family: Explaining the Persistence of Genital Cutting in the Gambia
- Kim Yi Dionne & Jeremy Horowitz: The Political Effects of Anti-Poverty Initiatives: An Analysis of Malawi’s Agricultural Input Subsidy Program
- Jessica Gottlieb: Why women participate less in civic activity: Evidence from Mali
- Kristin Michelitch: Beyond Voting: Temporal Proximity to Elections, Competitiveness, and Political Participation
- Sangick Jeon, Tim Johnson & Amanda Robinson: Social Sanctioning Across Ethnic Lines: Experimental Evidence from the Kenya-Tanzania Border
- Ryan Sheely: Skipping the State? Ethnographic and Experimental Evidence on the Dynamics of Non-State Social Welfare Provision in Sierra Leone
Related haba na haba posts:
Just a couple of hours ago, Malawi President Joyce Banda dissolved her cabinet. The official statement read:
“Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi, in exercise of the powers conferred upon her by Section 94 (1) and Section 95 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, has today, 10th October 2013, dissolved Cabinet. Following the dissolution of the cabinet, all ministerial matters will revert to the Presidency through Controlling Officers. Her Excellency the President will announce a new Cabinet in due course.”
The dissolution of cabinet occurred the same day there was a demonstration in the capital, reported in The Nation (Malawi’s major daily newspaper):
The marchers carried placards with the words ‘Joyce Banda walephera kuyendetsa dziko la Malawi’ [Joyce Banda has failed to govern this country] ‘Mphwiyo chira msanga uzafotokoze’ [Mphwiyo should explain the looting] ‘Akulu a boma onse apume panthawi imene kubaku kukufufuzidwa’ [Top government officials should resign to pave way for investigations] among others.
The dissolution of cabinet and the preceding protest followed revelations of a corruption scandal, starting in late September about cash being stolen from government. To give some background, Malawi uses an Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) payment platform, and it is alleged that through this platform, government accountants had been making fraudulent payments and stockpiling cash in their homes and vehicles. The scandal is referred to as “Cashgate“, and has been widely reported on in Malawi in the past few weeks.
Prior to arrests associated with the Cashgate scandal, Malawi’s Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo was shot on September 13, after having received numerous death threats in connection with his cracking down on fraudulent government contracts and embezzling loopholes. Mphwiyo was only appointed budget director in July of this year.
Much of these developments surrounding the Cashgate scandal unfolded during President Joyce Banda’s 23-day trip out of the country, partly spent at the UN General Assembly meeting. During her absence, news and rumors circulated that the corruption of the Cashgate scandal reached high up into the administration, and there were reports that President Banda had known about the embezzling as early as five months ago. A major opponent for President Banda in the upcoming May 2014 tripartite elections, MCP Presidential Candidate Lazarus Chakwera, publicly called for her to cut her trip short and return to Malawi to deal with the Cashgate saga. The civil society leader who organized today’s demonstration had also previously called for the President to return home early, and even went so far as to call for her resignation.
There was pressure from donors to do something about the Cashgate scandal as early as the days following the shooting of Budget Director Mphwiyo. In a jointly released statement, major donors — including the British High Commission and the US Embassy — said:
We are greatly concerned about the reported events surrounding the shooting of the Budget Director Mr Paul Mphwiyo. These are worrying developments that potentially risk Malawi’s stability, rule of law and reputation. We urge swift and credible investigations that leave no stone unturned, allowing the investigating authorities to act without fear, intimidation or hindrance. Should the Malawi authorities require international assistance to their investigations into this and other cases, we are willing to respond.
There has been growing concern in Malawi about corruption. We welcome the government’s acceptance that much more needs to be done. We encourage further political will to support the determination of those prepared within government and in state institutions to act against corruption, building on the recently announced measures to strengthen accounting systems and controlling measures. We encourage a strong coalition with others in Malawi society to ensure success and confirm our continued support to them in order that we achieve results.
The European Union is set to release $39 million in budget support to Malawi in December, but warned the government that it would not release the funds before these budget concerns were dealt with. The German ambassador warned his country was closely following events to determine future support.
In sum, it is not at all surprising that President Banda dissolved cabinet. There was pressure from donors, civil society, ordinary Malawians, all while her political opponents have been using the scandal to demonstrate her weakness in governing the country in the run-up to the elections. If the EU payment does not come through in December (the start of Malawi’s hunger season), Banda stands no chance of winning the elections in May 2014.
The question is, where does she go from here? Malawian academic Boniface Dulani had already pointed out Banda’s original cabinet was largely a recycling of ministers from previous administrations. Though sacking her cabinet is one step in the right direction, it will certainly not be sufficient to appease civil society, donors, or ordinary Malawians. She will have to make haste in resolving the Cashgate scandal, especially if she expects to stay in office come May.
Writer Jimmy Kainja participated in the demonstration that preceded the cabinet dissolution. He posted a photo of his own placard to Twitter.
After a recent exam in which many of my students failed, I asked them to write a brief statement reflecting on what they could do differently before the next exam. The most common response by far was that they would study longer before the next exam. I don't want to discourage students from studying, but I thought that this situation required an addendum to…
As part of a symposium on the gender gap in academic political science, today The Monkey Cage (a blog run by political scientists that is now hosted at The Washington Post) featured a post by Rick Wilson, Professor of Political Science at Rice University and Editor of the American Journal of Political Science, one of the discipline’s leading journals. In Rick’s post, he talks about why diversity in science is important, the initiative he took as the AJPS Editor to diversify the members of the editorial board, and the lack of gender parity in the journal’s published articles (as measured by articles authored by women) — despite his efforts.
What I like most about the piece is he gives advice to female political scientists, both reviewers and authors:
To female reviewers (who are overworked) please say no if you really do not have the time to review a manuscript. Believe me, your male counterparts are doing so. But, if you say no, send me the names of two or three well-qualified reviewers. I will not advise that you only send me the names of female reviewers, but I certainly would not object if you did. I want to know the most qualified people in the field, especially junior people who might be under my radar.
To female authors who have been asked to revise and resubmit your manuscript: keep two things in mind. First, if you find that the editor is unclear about what is expected of you, then ask the editor. I grant very few revisions and I have a vested interest in getting you to revise the manuscript so that it will be successful. E-mail me or call me. Your male counterparts are not shy about asking.
Second, if the revision is going to take more time than you anticipated, ask for an extension. I would much rather have a well crafted piece of science than something that was hurried because of a deadline. It may be that you need additional time because you need to collect additional data, because of health issues or child care duties. The reason is not important. I want you to show me your best effort. Again, your male counterparts are not shy about seeking extensions.
In particular, I like that he tells us that our asking for extensions or declining to review a paper would be consistent with what our male colleagues do. Sometimes we might need to be reminded that when we are asking for a break, we’re not doing it because we’re women; we’re doing it because like academics everywhere, sometimes we just need a break.
At the very end, Rick reminds us that:
…editors are as busy, overworked and harried as any academic. But being busy, overworked and harried often means falling back on rules of thumb. If those rules of thumb admit implicit biases, then we should be held accountable. Keep up the pressure on editors.
I will contend with one bit, though it might not be something about which Rick and I disagree. This part about keeping pressure on editors comes after Rick says he’s giving advice to women. I don’t think female academics alone should keep up the pressure on editors (though it’s in our self-interest). As Rick said early in his piece, the quality and impact of science suffers when groups are excluded. For the sake of our discipline, then, political scientists generally — both men and women – have to keep up the pressure on editors. Rick is one example* of how men in our discipline can take initiative to deal with a problem not just of unfairness but of potentially limiting the potential of our field to advance our understanding of politics and society.
*NB: Rick Wilson was my NSF ADVANCE mentor and has been an exceptionally generous senior colleague to me since I met him at the NSF EITM Workshop at Washington University in St. Louis in 2009. Though I’ve never been shy to disagree with him, it doesn’t happen often. This is all to say that I’m probably not entirely unbiased in talking about him or his post.
Nate Jensen had a great blog post the other day about a paper he wrote that essentially took five years to get published. I’ve written about similar experiences on haba na haba: first about a paper that was rescinded after being accepted, and then about a paper that was rejected seven times before eventually coming out in print. Once when I was whining about the review process for the latter paper, a friend told me about how a paper he wrote in graduate school that didn’t get published until his fifth year on the tenure track — he’d worked on it for ten years!
But back to Nate — he followed up that post with a post yesterday on blogging about our profession (meaning political science/academia). In it, he writes, “I’m always a little disappointed that my posts on research get a lot less attention than posts on the job market, job talks, or publication process.” The blog stats for haba na haba are consistent with Nate’s experience: posts I’ve written about personal experiences (i.e., taking a child with you to another country when conducting research, or what I did on the job market this past year as a nursing mother) always generate more traffic and discussion than posts about research (whether my research or that of others).
Nate’s post — particularly the part about being famous for a blog post being one of the worst professional outcomes — reminds me of a dinner conversation with colleagues this summer about Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “having it all” post and how she’ll likely be remembered for that and not the research she’s published the past two decades. Still, I can think of worse outcomes.
- File under “how PhDs get away with watching TV and calling it work”: The Politics and Policy of HBO’s The Wire (Boston University)
- Prettiest syllabus I’ve ever seen: US History II (Worcester State University)
- How to write a “scary” syllabus: Computer Science 161, Computer Security (UC Berkeley)
- And, the best YouTube-ing of a syllabus: Music 110, Analysis and Repertory (College Unknown)
This past week I had the pleasure of participating in the 2013 Afrobarometer Summer School, held in Cotonou, Benin and organized by the Institut de Recerche Empirique en Economie Politique (IREEP). The summer school was directed by Leonard Wantchekon and funded by the Afrobarometer Network and the Council for International Teaching and Research at Princeton University. Students came from a number of African countries, most of which are Francophone: Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, and Senegal, to name just a few. There were also students from Princeton (and one from NYU).
I arrived on Saturday night, and on Sunday the group of students and instructors went on a tour of four cities in southern Benin. Our first stop was the city of Ouidah. The beauty of the photo notwithstanding, Ouidah is perhaps most famous for its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade: Ouidah was a point of departure to the Americas for slaves originating from Benin, Ghana, and Nigeria.
The tour ended in the city of Agoué – not a typical tourist destination in Benin, but a place with an interesting and unique historical background. In the mid-nineteenth century, former slaves who were involved in slave revolts in Brazil left Brazil to head back to the African continent, some to the areas from which their families originally hailed. Many “returning” families settled in Benin at Agoué. They had considerable wealth when they settled in Agoué and the wealth in these families persists today but has not spilled over to neighboring populations, much less the rest of the country. A significant part of Leonard Wantchekon’s research agenda studies the long-term social impact of historical events and thus, Leonard had a number of interesting questions about the families that settled in Agoué. One such family was that of the first president of Togo, Sylvanus Olympio.
The following day, I taught a few courses at the IREEP office. There were two groups of students, one taking classes with me and the other taking a day-long intensive course on instrumental variables, taught by Leonard. My morning course focused on ethnic politics. Because the afternoon was open to “Special Topics”, I gave students the opportunity to vote on which topics we would cover; they chose “Protests in Contemporary Africa” and “Same-Sex Politics in Africa.” These options were presented selfishly on my part, as I have ongoing research on both topics and wanted to learn more from these students about experiences in their countries. Their discussion was engaging and illuminating. For example, an interesting fact I learned: in Senegal, a person who engages in same-sex sexual activity can be referred to as “double pousse”, which usually refers to a phone that can have two sim cards (each for a different telecom provider). I couldn’t understand the term’s relevance – so the students explained that it makes no sense to have two of the same company’s sim cards, just like it is puzzling [to them] that people of the same gender would be in a relationship. I mentioned that it was a sign of wealth/importance to have a phone that could use two sim cards, but they insisted that the term was not one of reverence.
When we had half a day to ourselves, a group of us decided to venture into Cotonou to experience the Grand Marché. I haven’t been to a market like it on the African continent (probably a function of my limited travel), but I’d compare it to Namdaemun Market in Seoul. A friend at the summer school who was from Mexico said it was similar to Tepito in Mexico City.
The summer school concluded with a conference on democracy and governance in Africa, during which students presented new research ideas employing analysis of Afrobarometer data. It was particularly exciting to see presentations about data from countries that are new to the Afrobarometer, having been introduced in Round 5. For example, Dr. Emmanuel Esso presented work co-authored with Mpelikan Gerson and Silwé Kaphalo Ségorbah that explored the determinants of vote choice in Côte d’Ivoire. Likewise, Aliou Barry – a student at the Afrobarometer Summer School and a member of parliament in the transitional government in Guinea – presented on the fragile situation there. Only one of the 34 Afrobarometer surveys is still collecting data in the field for Round 5 (Nigeria), but it is expected that fieldwork will be completed soon and there is a whole-continent dissemination conference planned for September in Dakar.
I learned a lot at the summer school, met a great group of the next generation of scholars on African Political Economy, and all in an interesting and “new-to-me” country. It was challenging, however, since I cannot speak French. I had originally hoped to ask and later write about the changes in Benin’s cabinet, but given my utter lack of language ability, the only thing I could make out was from the news – and that was that the president installed a new cabinet the day after I arrived. Many of my students were also limited in their English proficiency, which meant that I relied on bilingual (actually, trilingual at the minimum) students to help translate as I taught. The challenges imposed by language and the recognition that I was missing out on a lot of what is happening on the continent have encouraged me to finally learn French. Then I might enjoy more the promised future visits to students in Senegal, Cameroon, and Guinea.