Hello Economic Anthropologists,

On behalf of the M. Estellie Smith Dissertation Award Committee (myself, Ipshita Ghosh, and Shelly Biesel) I am pleased to announce this year’s winner:

Adrian Wilson, University of California Berkeley, for his project entitled, “The Economic Imaginaries of Evidence-Based Development in East Africa.”

Adrian is taking a hard look at how development workers in Kenya are testing and implementing the kinds of experimental development projects championed by recent Nobel laureates Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer, champions of randomized controlled trials. (Adrian’s abstract is pasted at the end of this message).

It was a very hard decision, as we received many wonderful proposals that were worthy of funding. If you or your student applied but was not awarded, giant pats on the back are well deserved!

Thanks, and here’s Adrian’s abstract:

“This project is a multi-sited ethnographic research study of the scientific field of “evidence-based development” research in East Africa — of the development economists who design such research, the research staff who carry it out, and the research participants whose behaviors and thought processes are being studied. My aim is not so much to describe the economic, political, and social interventions made by researchers operating in field (others have already done so) as to analyze this field as a site at which different understandings of the economic — held by development economists, researchers, and research participants — intersect and interact.”

Bram Tucker
Chair, M. Estellie Smith Dissertation Award