When EASST Fellows come to UC Berkeley, they not only strengthen their networks by meeting with CEGA Affiliates and PhD students, but they also gain access to a wealth of opportunities to collaborate with other programs at CEGA. The following stories illustrate our fellows' connections across CEGA.
Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) Catalysts
BITSS was established by CEGA in 2012 and “aims to enhance the practices of social scientists in ways that promote research transparency, reproducibility, and openness.” One component of the initiative is the Catalyst Program. Similar to the EASST catalyst grant program, which awards fellows grants to train others in impact evaluation, BITSS Catalysts become leaders in the open science movement by passing on their knowledge to others.
EASST Fellows Jayne Tusiime and Kizito Omala first became exposed to BITSS ideas and methods while at Berkeley, and later went on to become BITSS Catalysts. Thus far, they have conducted four research transparency trainings, and have trained over 425 participants. Most recently, Jayne and Kizito were invited to attend the 2017 BITSS Annual Meeting in Berkeley where they met with other catalysts and leaders in the movement.
Fellows’ papers accepted to the Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE) January 2018 Meeting
CEGA’s WGAPE program was founded in 2002 and is an international forum for academic researchers who combine deep field research experience in Africa with training in political economy methods. The meetings provide a unique opportunity for researchers to obtain in depth feedback from meeting participants, who have all read the papers that are being discussed. Two of our EASST Fellows, Constantine Manda and Michael Mbate, were recently selected to present their papers at the upcoming meeting in January 2018 at New York University-Abu Dhabi. Constantine’s paper, “Minority Presidents and Ethnic Politics,” analyzes a dataset covering 142 countries and finds that ethnic diversity and ethnic minority leadership has a negative association with the onset of civil war. Michael’s paper utilizes a spatial policy implemented in Kenya to examine the effects of politicians’ strategic interactions on public spending. He finds that “politically motivated adjustments in government spending are associated with significant short-term budgetary distortions.” The misallocation of budgetary resources is welfare reducing and significantly affect public goods with positive externalities. Although this is the first time our fellows will be presenting papers, EASST Fellow involvement in WGAPE predates the January meeting. Several fellows have attended as non-presenters to provide feedback to participants on their papers, and at the WGAPE Spring National Meeting, Michael led the impact evaluation training.