ERF is pleased to announce a call for proposals on “The Micro-Level Analysis of the Impact of Violent Conflict on Lives and Livelihoods in the MENA Region.” Selected authors will present their papers during a workshop by June 2020. Interested researchers are invited to submit their proposals by February 15, 2020.
The MENA region is characterized by several interrelated socio-economic trends including rapidly growing populations, on average high degrees of (youth) unemployment, strong gender differences in terms of labor market participation, and political radicalization. The countries in the region often have weak and/or authoritarian central government institutions, declining public revenues from natural resources except in a few very resource-rich countries, and climate change impacts on agriculture and water management. Above all, insecurity and violent conflict of various intensity shape societies in several MENA countries directly or indirectly, via conflicts in neighboring countries. The conflicts differ in cause, nature, duration and intensity and hence have diverse and changing impacts on people. More importantly, these impacts may in turn compound the other aforementioned trends by, possibly, affecting population growth, unemployment, gender norm differentiation, political radicalization, weakening state institutions and increased needs for but reduced abilities to fund public services and infrastructures.
Despite these fundamental and interlinked societal challenges, the MENA region is comparatively under-researched in terms of applied micro-level analysis, both by economists and other social scientists. In particular, it is not very well understood how some of these security and socio-economic trends shape each other. For a given conflict, there are a multitude of topics that can be addressed, ranging from demography, social issues, health, education, labor markets and migration via agriculture, product markets and trade to social norms, attitudes and political behavior and, of course, to the role and the effectiveness of policies and interventions. Papers will be giving priority which address either the impact of conflict, insecurity and fragility on people (especially women and children) or which address the impact of women on peace-building.
The impact of conflict, insecurity and fragility on people: proposals should address how conflict impacts “victims” across these many domains. Possible research questions may include:
The impact of women on peace-building: In situations of extreme distress, some people move beyond the role of victim and exhibit strong resilience and agency. While both men and women may become peacemakers in times of conflict, the role of women as agents of constructive and sustainable change in times of conflict has historically been under-researched and possibly under-appreciated. Hence a second stream of research could address the role of women (and perhaps of youth) in supporting peace. Possible research questions to be addressed at the workshop may include:
The micro-level analyses both of the socio-economic impact of conflict, insecurity and fragility and of the role of women for peace-building could be conducted using a variety of methods. Papers will be giving priority which adopt one or several of these methods:
Analysis of cross-sectional survey data: This is the most straightforward way to tackle the above-mentioned research questions, given that the majority of available data will have this format. However, there are challenges in achieving causal identification in this way and data may need to have unique features or be merged with other types of data to achieve good results.
Analysis of panel survey data: Where panel data exist, this offers an attractive route to high quality research, especially if this data also contains information on conflict events.
Analysis of project-specific or administrative data: Such data sources may not be representative of a population at large and they may only ask limited types of information but may offer unique opportunities to study in greater depth certain topics.
There are a number of conceptual and practical challenges to overcome in order to have strong and novel contributions to the questions posed. These are reviewed briefly below. Papers that address these challenges head on and, ideally, tackle these challenges in innovative ways will be given priority.
Identification of causal effects of conflict: This will be a key challenge. Going beyond the comparison of regions with more or less conflict (or before and after conflict) which is not really a valid or common approach, a new focus is on the measure of conflict exposure at the individual level through variables on conflict contained within the survey. Alternatively, external conflict event data can be merged with survey data, especially if both the survey data and the conflict event data are geo-coded.
Use of administrative data: Identification and access of such data is typically non-trivial. However, the workshop may be a special opportunity to use some previously underutilized archives.
Use of non-standard data: The use of novel data, especially if merged with survey data, may prove a useful way to advance this agenda, for example by merging survey data with remote sensing data or big data. Crowd-sourced or crowd-seeded data may also help overcome lack of data on conflict in some regions or periods.
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION
Authors should submit a proposal of a maximum length of ten double-spaced pages (excluding appendices, tables, figures, and references). It should be structured to contain three sections in the following format. ERF reserves the right to exclude proposals that are not consistent with these guidelines.
IMPORTANT NOTE: the proposal should NOT include the authors’ names, as it will undergo a blind review process.
The following eligibility criteria will be applied:
A refereeing committee will evaluate all proposals by the following criteria:
YOUR SUBMISSION SHOULD INCLUDE:
For further inquiries, please contact Ms. Ramage Nada, Senior Programs Officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.