Announcing the Summer 2014 Next Generation Grant Awardees

By — on / Awards, Grants, and Fellowships, PON Next Generation Grants

Twice yearly the Program on Negotiation runs the Next Generation Grant program, which supports research in negotiation and conflict resolution by non-tenured faculty and doctoral students.

We wish to announce our latest grant awardees:


Syon Bhanot and Chaning Jang
Harvard University (Bhanot) and University of Hawai’i at Manoa (Jang)
Research project: “Welfare and Workfare: A Field Experiment on Motivation, Effort, Happiness and Spending in Kenya”
Abstract: Programs designed to provide a living income to the world’s poor take many forms, but little is understood about how these programs influence the happiness, effort, and behavior of program beneficiaries. This study uses a unique, three-week field experiment to study these questions in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Kenya. Among the central questions this experiment explores is how effort is motivated by different underlying forces. Thanks to the grant from PON, we are able to add a treatment group that addresses the question of how intrinsic motivations primed by the design of a “workfare” program influence effort. Specifically, we will be testing how doing “pro-social” work (in the form of work with an explicit charitable purpose) as part of a “workfare” program affects what participating individuals spend the workfare money on, their happiness, and their level of effort on the job. We hope these results can influence future programs designed to bring a higher standard of living to the world’s poorest people.


Shayak Sarkar
Harvard University
Research project: Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
Abstract: In recent decades, foreign plaintiffs aggrieved by corporate human rights violations have used U.S. courts to seek civil remedies.  In such cases, the corporate conduct often occurs abroad, and the extent of the defendant parties’ connection to U.S is often disputed.  My research empirically documents how the changing availability of U.S. federal courts to such litigation affects corporations (both defendants and non-defendants).   I hope to better understand how human rights litigation can shape and mediate conflicts arising from international commerce and development.


Rebecca Tapscott and Deval Desai
The Fletcher School at Tufts University (Tapscott) and Harvard Law School (Desai)
Research project: “A fly on the wall, or the elephant in the room?: The methods and ethics of international development research in fragile states.”
Abstract: The proposed research interrogates the emerging nexus between qualitative field-based research, and security and development, a convergence that promises to have significant implications for global governance over the next decade. In particular, our research interrogates how the act of researching itself determines findings, and what the implications are when such findings are used to justify ongoing intervention in “fragile” and “weak” states. To what extent are researchers an object of intrigue to which “subjects” consciously or subconsciously respond? Does the process of asking subjects to define experiences, relationships, and opinions in a coherent narrative affect the character of their reflections, and might this induce individuals to act, opt out, or simply alter their perspective on the topic of research? How might researchers engage with “subjects” while acknowledging their agency in the process of research, thereby understanding research as a tool of dialogue or negotiation, rather than extraction? Our initial research will focus on fragile and post-conflict environments that have been heavily researched, with fieldwork in Nepal, Uganda, and Sierra Leone.


Christopher Williams
The Fletcher School at Tufts University
Research project: “Foreign Policy from the Inside Out: How South Africa’s Negotiated Transition Influenced the Mandela Administration’s Conflict Resolution Strategies Abroad”
Abstract: One of the most frequently observed characteristics of the Mandela Administration’s foreign policy is that South Africa adopted an approach to conflict resolution that drew on its own recent and unique negotiated transition.  While pervasive, this observation has rarely been seriously examined.  This paper undertakes such an examination through the use of cognitive theory, which explores the formative impact a leader’s domestic rise to power has on the foreign policy predilections of that leader.  This theory of “domestic learning” provides a powerful causal link that supports the oft stated, but poorly articulated, connection between South Africa’s own transition process and its foreign policy orientation.  First, the paper examines the most salient lessons learned by Mandela during the transition negotiations with the National Party in the early 1990s.  Then, it surveys South Africa’s conflict resolution efforts in Lesotho (1994) and Zaire/the DRC (1997/1998) to explore whether President Mandela translated the lessons he gleaned from South Africa’s own negotiated transition to conflict resolution efforts abroad.  This analysis strongly suggests that both Mandela’s inclination to negotiate, and the style in which he did so, were directly informed by South Africa’s own negotiated transition.


For more information on the grants, please visit the Next Generation Grant page.

Related Posts


Comments are closed.