Thursday, October 29, 2009


The Poverty and Economic Policy (PEP) Research Network
announces a call for proposals for its 2010 competition for
research grants with a total value of up to $CAN 50,000

DEADLINE: January 6, 2010


PEP provides financial and scientific support to teams of
developing country researchers studying poverty issues.
Specific objectives are to:

- Better understand the causes and consequences of poverty
- Propose pro-poor policies and programs
- Improve the measurement and monitoring of poverty
- Strengthen local research capacity on poverty issues
- Develop new concepts and techniques for poverty analysis

To maximize capacity building, PEP favors teams composed of
at least one senior researcher supervising a gender-
balanced group of junior researchers. PEP especially
encourages proposals from the poorest countries. Funding
includes a core research grant of $CAN 20K, plus separate
funding of up to $CAN 30K to participate in training
workshops, PEP meetings, international conferences, study
visits and other activities. All team members must
originate from and reside in a developing country during
the course of the project.


Grants are awarded under four programs:

- Community Based Monitoring Systems (CBMS): For the
development and institutionalization of a community-based
poverty monitoring system involving either: (1) the
development and pilot-test of a CBMS, or (2) expansion
and institutionalization of an existing CBMS.
- Modeling and Policy Impact Analysis (MPIA): Analyzing the
impacts of macroeconomic shocks and policies on poverty
and income distribution (Priority themes: Inclusive
growth, public spending and agricultural policies).
- Policy Impact Evaluation Research Initiative (PIERI):
Evaluations of the impacts of interventions that aim to
increase human capital and alleviating poverty, e.g.
child health, schooling, training and safety net
- Poverty Monitoring, Measurement and Analysis (PMMA):
Monitoring, measurement and analysis of a wide range of
poverty issues (Priority themes: Multidimensional
poverty, public spending, intrahousehold allocation and
poverty dynamics2).


For more information and to submit a proposal, please
consult the "Call for Proposals" section on the PEP

PEP is financed by the Australian Agency for International
Development (AusAID), and by the Government of Canada
through the International Development Research Centre
(IDRC) and the Canadian International Development Agency

Decisions will be communicated by April 30, 2010 at the

Monday, October 26, 2009

Symposium: The Future of Law and Development, Part I

The first installment of our blog symposium on the Future of Law and Development has been published by the Northwestern Law Review. Further installments will appear in the next one to two months. As a reminder, the first installment includes pieces by Tom Ginsburg (Chicago - Law), Salil Mehra (Temple - Law), Katharina Pistor (Columbia - Law), & Anna Gelpern (American - Law).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Courts in authoritarian regimes

Readers may know I have an occasional interest in the role of courts in authoritarian regimes. There is a wonderful quote in today's NYTimes from Iranian "opposition" leader Mehdi Karroubi, who has been threatened with trial at a special court for clergy. The concept of this special court is itself interesting: the court is used as a device to maintain cohesion within the dictatorial class, somewhat similar to Robert Barros' found in his study of the Chilean constitutional court. But Karroubi's quote, copied below, captures well the idea that because of their public nature, courts can be used to rally support for the opposition, even in cases that they lose. Karroubi says: "I am not only unworried about this court .... I wholeheartedly welcome it since I will use it to express my concerns regarding the national and religious beliefs of the Iranian people and the ideas of Imam Khomeini, and clearly reveal those who are opposed to these concerns.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Rule of Law Unplugged

A worthwhile read that just got posted on SSRN is the working paper The Rule of Law Unplugged by Mathew D. McCubbins, Daniel B. Rodriguez and Barry R. Weingast.

ABSTRACT: The 'Rule of Law' is a venerable concept, but, on closer inspection, is a complex admixture of positive assumptions, occasionally wishful thinking, and inchoate political and legal theory. While enormous investment has been made in rule of law reformism throughout the world, advocates of transplanting American-style legal and political institutions to developed and developing countries in the world are often unclear about what they are transplanting and why they are ambitiously doing so. Scholars clearly have more work to do in understanding the rule of law and designing institutions to realize the objectives for which this grand project is intended.

In this paper, we revisit the concept of the rule of law in order to help unpack the theoretical and operational assumptions underlying scholarship and reform efforts. We do so from the perspective of legal and positive political theory; and we interrogate various institutional devices (such as constitutionalism and the independent judiciary) in order to shed light on how the construct of the rule of law is being put into service on behalf of cross-national reform initiatives.