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SCID Summer Undergraduate Field Research Assistant Program

The Stanford Center for International Development is no longer accepting applications for the Summer Undergraduate Field Research Assistant Program.

This program enables undergraduates to gain first-hand experience in field research on international economic development. Students will spend up to ten weeks in a developing country to conduct research for Stanford faculty or affiliates, from June 19, 2017 to August 25, 2017. Each undergraduate RA will receive a stipend to cover travel and living expenses. The minimum time commitment is six weeks, and stipends will be pro-rated if the total time commitment is less than ten weeks.

In advance of travel abroad, participating students will attend an orientation session on conducting research in developing countries and compliance with Stanford University policies. Students will also be eligible to present their work at a student conference in the fall quarter.

Due to the type of funding, this program is available only to current Stanford undergraduates. Students must be enrolled for both the preceding spring quarter and the following fall quarter.

To apply, please send a CV, a letter of interest, dates of availability, and an unofficial transcript. Applications are due by February 27, 2017. Interviews will be conducted before spring break.

Students are welcome to apply to multiple openings, however please tailor the letter of interest to each project.

Ghana Youth Survey: A Longitudinal Study of the Private and Social Returns to Education

Primary school enrollment has risen in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past two decades, but secondary school enrollment rates remain relatively low. In this ongoing study in Ghana, researchers are evaluating the effect of secondary school scholarships on life outcomes in the longer run, from employment and health outcomes for the scholarship recipient themselves to the cognitive development of their children. Under the guidance of the researchers, the undergraduate summer RA will help the local survey team pilot and rollout new survey instruments as well as manage the incoming data.

Faculty supervisor: Pascaline Dupas (Economics)

Location: Accra, Ghana (with field trips to rural areas)

Additional qualifications: Students who have completed the core economics major requirements or who have taken Econ 118 strongly preferred.


Innovation and Product Design by Handicraft Artisans in a Context of Global Markets

Historically, handicraft artisans in developing countries have relied on a few, traditional product designs in their production process. However, innovating and adopting new product designs could improve their economic livelihoods by opening up new markets. Motivated by this observation, we ask: under what conditions do handicraft artisans innovate and adopt new designs in their production process to cater to urban and global markets? The student will conduct exploratory research in the wood and lacquerware cluster of Channapatna in India and the nearby city of Bangalore. The exploratory research will consist of interviewing and surveying designers in Bangalore who work with artisans to ask them about their experience introducing new designs amongst the Channapatna artisans, and spending some time in Channapatna interviewing and observing artisans at work. This exploratory research will help inform the design of a field experiment testing means to improve artisans’ openness to experimentation with new designs.

Faculty supervisor: Aruna Ranganathan (GSB)

Location: Bangalore/Channapatna, India

Additional qualifications: Preference will be given to students who have taken a class on qualitative data collection. Spoken language skills in Hindi or Kannada a plus but not required.


Socioeconomic Impacts of Urbanization in Cote d’Ivoire

In recent years, African nations like Cote d’Ivoire have been experiencing rapid economic growth as well as high urbanization rates and urban sprawl, as people and businesses are moving from rural areas to capital cities and surrounding areas. Yet, there has been limited scientific analysis of a large set of issues that are peculiar to cities, such as urban poverty, employment/unemployment patterns, migration trends, firm characteristics, and urban governance. Most existing socio-economic surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa are largely focused on rural populations and many of them are cross-sectional. The Stanford Economic Development Research Initiative (SEDRI) intends to fill this gap by creating long-term panel datasets of households, businesses, and local administrators in peri-urban areas of multiple Sub-Saharan African countries. Under the guidance of senior Stanford economists and project staff, the summer undergraduate RA will help with need-finding and survey piloting in the greater Abidjan area. The work will include conducting exploratory interviews, gathering administrative data, preliminary data analysis, and report writing.

Faculty supervisors: Marcel Fafchamps (FSI) and Pascaline Dupas (Economics)

Location: Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Additional qualifications: The student must be comfortable communicating in verbal and written French. Students who have completed the core economics major requirements or who have taken Econ 118 strongly preferred. Experience conducting field work or working in a developing country is a plus, but not required. Experience working in STATA or R is preferred, but not required. The student should be interested in development economics and urbanization.


The Technology of Peaceful Protests as a Means for Political Change

There were moments in the twentieth century when activists believed non-violent civil disobedience would change the process of political reform forever. Yet despite notable successes of movements that adopted this political technology – from the Suffragette Movement, to India's mass mobilization for independence, to the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. South – there have been many failures and partial successes. Beyond the question of mobilizing support, there is a key organizational challenge: mass movements that start peaceful often turn violent, providing license to states to repress such movements with violence. This project analyzes the external economic and internal organizational incentives under which civil disobedience movements succeed and fail. The research draws from novel, recently declassified intelligence data on non-violent and violent mobilization during three epochs of India's independence movement. The summer undergraduate RA will be tasked with collecting primary and hitherto untapped archival materials on the Indian Independence movement. The work will entail accessing national, police, and domestic intelligence archives from the colonial era, both in New Delhi and in a few Indian state capitals. The work will involve scanning original documents and entering and analyzing data.

Faculty supervisor: Saumitra Jha (GSB)

Location: New Delhi, India (with visits to Lucknow and other state capitals)