Parlez-vous français? Language and agricultural aid allocation strategies in northern Mali with Emily Maiden

In January 2012, insurgent groups in northern Mali began a violent campaign against the central government. By March 2012, then-President Amadou Toumani Touré (ATT) was ousted in a successful coup. The ongoing unrest has drastically shifted the strategies foreign donors are using to allocate aid, particularly to northern Mali. While bilateral donors have drastically scaled back all programmatic aid, NGOs including Oxfam International and the Red Cross have stepped in to provide humanitarian aid. This shift from programmatic to humanitarian aid has left the agricultural sector particularly vulnerable. Since most of the food grown in Mali is grown in the northern region, such a drastic decrease in agricultural aid will have catastrophic effects in terms of projected food shortages. Furthermore, using evidence from new World Bank survey data gathered in northern Mali in 2015, we find that the agricultural aid being distributed by NGOs is not targeting those most in need. We find that French-speaking villages are more likely to be targeted for aid compared to non-French-speaking villages. We argue that in northern Mali, under the current sociopolitical conditions, speaking French makes these villages more attractive to aid organizations, regardless of their actual need for assistance. This appropriation principle means that aid is not going to the most vulnerable, but to the most politically or socially connected. We also find proof of a second layer of aid misappropriation. While Sonrai and Tamasheq-speaking villages receive less agricultural aid than French-speaking villages, the aid they do receive goes to those households most vulnerable to exogenous shocks. However, in French-speaking villages, the most vulnerable households are not guaranteed to receive agricultural aid. If desperately needed agricultural aid continues to be misappropriated, it could lead countries like Mali to become even more unstable.

Link to article


Home on Sunday, Home on Tuesday? Secular Political Participation in the United States

The American religious landscape is transforming due to a sharp rise in the percentage of the population that is nonreligious. Political and demographic causes have been proffered but little attention has been paid to the current and potential political impact of these “nones,” especially given the established link between religion, participation, and party politics. I argue that the political impact of nonreligious Americans lies in an unexplored subset of the nonreligious population called committed seculars. Committed seculars de-identify with religion, they adopt secular beliefs, and join organizations structured on secular beliefs. Using a unique survey of a secular organization, the American Humanist Association, I demonstrate that committed seculars are extremely partisan and participatory, and are driven to participate by their ideological extremity in relation to the Democratic Party. These results point to a long-term mobilizing dimension for Democrats and indicate the potential polarizing influence of seculars in party politics.

Link to article


Adapting Identities: Religious Conversion and Partisanship Among Asian American Immigrants

Asian Americans constitute the largest group of new immigrants and the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. While Asian American immigrants have experienced greater economic success than other minority groups, this has not necessarily led to greater political incorporation such as identification with a political party. Political parties have made little substantive outreach to Asian Americans, leaving a void in political socialization that other institutions, such as churches, have sought to fill. Yet the U.S. religious landscape is often quite different from that of Asian immigrants’ sending countries, providing opportunities for changes in religious identity through conversion. Leveraging data from the 2012 Pew Asian American Survey, we show that conversion from Buddhism to Christianity among Asian American immigrants facilitates the development of partisan political identities. We demonstrate that conversion functions as an adaptation in identity that helps facilitate subsequent changes in identity, such as the acquisition of partisanship.


Secular voters didn’t turn out for Clinton the way white evangelicals did for Trump

November 18, 2016

One question in the tumultuous 2016 presidential campaign was whether white evangelicals would “come home” to the GOP and vote for Donald Trump, given his history of divorce, crude language and lack of familiarity with the Bible.

We now know from exit polls that they did — in droves. As shown in the graph below, Trump did better among white evangelicals (81 percent) than Mitt Romney in 2012 (78 percent) or even George W. Bush in 2004 (78 percent), and far better than John McCain in 2008 (74 percent). This is a critical constituency, as white evangelicals made up 26 percent of the electorate in 2016.

Continue to the rest of the article at the Washington Post…