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call for papers: inaugural national WGAPE meeting

10 February 2012
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The first national meeting of the Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE) will be held May 24th – 25th, 2012 at UC Berkeley. WGAPE brings together faculty and advanced graduate students in Economics and Political Science who combine field research experience in Africa with training in political economy methods. The deadline for submission is March 9th, 2012. WGAPE will cover travel costs of successful applicants.

I haven’t said much about WGAPE before — just a brief mention in my post about its spinoff: MGAPE. There are a lot of reasons I value the setup of WGAPE/MGAPE. All participants are expected to read the papers in advance and provide useful feedback on how the papers can be improved. Unlike the typical academic conference, we don’t all sit in some big room listening to someone go on about a polished paper they’ve likely presented before. Rather, the paper’s author(s) might spend 10 minutes (at most!) talking about the project and the remainder of the hour is devoted to ideas/critiques from other attendees. The group is also a smart, sociable, and interesting bunch, making coffee breaks, lunches, and the big dinner a great opportunity to discuss ideas at greater length and even start new co-authored projects (i.e., my fertilizer subsidy paper with Jeremy Horowitz).

If this is the kind of academic engagement you like, I encourage you to respond to the call. See this for more details. Please distribute to others who might take interest.

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