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Midwest Group on African Political Economy (aka WGAPE’s little sister MGAPE)

8 April 2011

Today begins the inaugural meeting of the Midwest Group on African Political Economy (MGAPE). From the site:

Founded in 2011, the Midwest Group in African Political Economy (MGAPE) brings together junior faculty in Political Science, Economics, and Public Policy who combine rich research experience in Africa with training in political economy methods. MGAPE is a sister group to WGAPE on the West Coast. The group meets to discuss works-in-progress of its regular members.

I’m really excited about the group. The papers for our first meeting are pretty interesting. Take, for example, this excerpt from Jeff Conroy-Krutz’s research memo on estimating the price of a vote:

I am in the process of completing a three-wave panel study on campaign effects surrounding the February/March 2011 elections in Uganda. 1072 Ugandans from nine parliamentary constituencies throughout the country were interviewed early in the presidential campaign (and before campaigning for parliamentary and local races had officially begun) in November 2010. 978 of these individuals (91.2% of the original sample) were successfully re-interviewed in the closing weeks of the campaign, in late January 2011… The primary goals of the study include, inter alia, measuring the extent to which electoral campaigns mobilize participation;; effect changes in individuals␣ political preferences, perceptions of state and regime legitimacy, and inter-ethnic relations;; and affect knowledge about democratic practices and politics generally. All three waves of the survey included questions about candidates’ and parties’ distributional practices.

Or this one from Marc Bellemare‘s paper on price volatility in rural Ethiopia:

Using data from a panel of Ethiopian households, our estimates suggest that the average household would be willing to pay 6-32 percent of its income to eliminate volatility in the prices of the seven primary food commodities. Not everyone benefits from price stabilization, however. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the welfare gains from eliminating price volatility would be concentrated in the upper 40 percent of the income distribution, making food price stabilization a distributionally regressive policy in this context.


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