USAID

Press Release

Eight New USAID Research Grants Awarded

USAID-funded Democracy Fellows and Grants (DFG) Program builds knowledge to promote democracy and prevent democratic backsliding

Learn more about the Democracy Fellows and Grants (DFG) Program

The Institute of International Education (IIE) announces the award of eight new research grants under its USAID-funded Democracy Fellows and Grants (DFG) Program. The grants will generate new knowledge to contribute to USAID’s democracy promotion efforts and support USAID’s Center of Excellence in Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG Center).

Seven grants, awarded under the 2013 Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Research and Innovation Grants Annual Program Statement (APS), are for year-long projects, with the first beginning in April 2014 and the last ending in August 2015. These projects support academics in furthering research in their fields of expertise, and will support both USAID’s DRG Center and the Conflict, Peacebuilding, and Governance Division in USAID’s Bureau for Africa, Office of Sustainable Development. Research results will be published as part of the DRG Center’s Working Paper Series, posted on the DFG website, and posted to USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse.

  • Principal Investigators (PIs) Philip Roessler and Robert Blair at the College of William and Mary will study if and how Chinese development assistance focused on infrastructure influences local governance in Liberia.
  • PIs Ryan Carlin, Jennifer McCoy, and Jelena Subotic at Georgia State University will study how the success of Colombia’s peace process is influenced by the perceived legitimacy of transitional justice mechanisms.
  • PI Leonard Wantchekon at L’Institut de Recherche Empirique en Economie Politique (IREEP) will study how a local government monitoring mechanism in Benin can encourage public oversight of local government corruption.
  • PI Jaimie Bleck at the University of Notre Dame, with PI Philippe Lemay-Bouche from Heriot-Watt University, will study how participation in indigenous Malian political discussion groups influences participants’ democratic behavior and ability to cope with conflict, extremism, and internal displacement.
  • PIs Daniel Posner and George Ofosu from the University of California, Los Angeles will study the effect of fraud displacement at polling stations on voter turnout, vote-buying, and voter intimidation.
  • PI Molly Lipscomb from the University of Virginia, with PI Robert Dowd from the University of Notre Dame, will study how local leaders’ management of development projects in Uganda affects their popularity, effectiveness, and ability to attract additional resources.
  • PI Jessica Leight from Williams College, with PI Rohini Pande from Harvard University and Laura Ralston from the World Bank, will study how vote-buying and perceptions of political corruption influence voter behavior in Kenya and the United States.

The eighth grant, under the Theories of Change program, will fund a project titled “Unwelcome Change: Understanding, Evaluating, and Extending Theories of Democratic Backsliding”, which will produce a White Paper and a Theory of Change Matrix to support USAID Mission staff in designing interventions to prevent democratic backsliding. 

  • PI Ellen Lust from Yale University, with PI David Waldner from the University of Virginia, will conduct research to identify and isolate a large variety of factors that contribute to democratic backsliding in politics worldwide. The PIs will compare and analyze these factors, looking for topical and regional groupings, and identify theories for how these factors can be most effectively influenced to stop or reverse democratic backsliding.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.

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