Agriculture policy
Sorcha Whitley
Gan Chern Xun
News Type

The opportunity to go to D.C. on the Honors College trip was one of the things that drew me to the CDDRL Honors Program in the first place, and the visit to the Brookings Institution was exactly the kind of experience I was hoping to get. Obviously, I’m interested in research — I wouldn’t recommend writing a thesis if you aren’t — but in terms of my future career, I’ve always wanted to have a hand in guiding policy, and to me, a think tank like Brookings is exactly the kind of place where research and policy intersect.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to learn about the specific research interests of the three panelists — for example, Molly Reynolds, a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies, focuses on congressional rules and procedure and had an encyclopedic knowledge of trivia about various House members (though we never did find out which representative from Arkansas was left-handed). I was most interested in hearing about how the panelists view their role in the policy-making process: having the right idea, in the right place, at the right time.

This visit was also particularly exciting for me because all three panelists were women, which was encouraging to see. In fact, over the course of the week, the number of women we met in important and influential positions was fairly inspiring. The week in D.C. certainly influenced my thinking about what kind of work I want to do in the future — even the visits that weren’t directly related to my research interests were fascinating, and an extremely useful exposure to the kind of careers that a CDDRL alumnus might pursue.

~ Sorcha Whitley

Women-led panel at Brookings
Women-led panel at Brookings

Honors College gave me the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. (and the East Coast, for that matter) for the first time. I was excited to learn about how people and organizations in government and other practitioners put into practice all that we have learned about democracy, development, and the rule of law. Some visits have left me with new insight and questions that would be helpful in my thesis research.

At first glance, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) would have appeared to be less relevant to the study of democracy, development, and the rule of law, but we were quite instantly impressed with the conversation that ensued. We were hosted by Riya Mehta, a CDDRL honors alumna who has been working as the chief of staff at the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) for just less than a year. Just like at Brookings, the session was mainly conducted by two women — Riya and a career civil servant that had been with the USDA for decades. Not only was that inspiring, but seeing the rapport and understanding between them was heartwarming and showed great promise for the mission of the FSA.

We learned about how the USDA delicately balances its role in development with its agenda in maintaining equity and focusing on sustainability, especially reckoning with its history of discrimination. The FSA operates in nearly every county in the United States, and such reach has enabled it to support local farmers and rural communities efficiently. The FSA also works with other agencies in the USDA such as the Foreign Agricultural Service to work toward more comprehensive development goals, a goal that requires increased international cooperation amidst a global food and supply chain crisis. Just like our research, this trip had us seek inspiration in unlikely places, and come out with more questions to ponder!

~ Gan Chern Xun

Hero Image
All News button

This is the third in a series of blog posts written by the Fisher Family Honors Program class of 2023 detailing their experiences in Washington, D.C. for CDDRL's annual Honors College.

News Type

Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) is proud to announce our four incoming fellows who will be joining us in the 2016-2017 academic year to develop their research, engage with faculty and tap into our diverse scholarly community. 

The pre- and postdoctoral program will provide fellows the time to focus on research and data analysis as they work to finalize and publish their dissertation research, while connecting with resident faculty and research staff at CDDRL. 

Fellows will present their research during our weekly research seminar series and an array of scholarly events and conferences.

Topics of the incoming cohort include electoral fraud in Russia, how the elite class impacts state power in China, the role of emotions in support for democracy in Zimbabwe, and market institutions in Nigeria. 

Learn more in the Q&A below.

natalia embedded
Natalia Forrat

CDDRL Pre-Doctoral Fellow

Hometown: Tomsk, Russia

Academic Institution: Northwestern University

Discipline and expected date of graduation: Sociology, April 2017

Research Interests: authoritarianism, state capacity, social policy, civil society, trust, Russia and post-communist countries

Dissertation Title: The State that Betrays the Trust: Infrastructural State Power, Public Sector Organizations, and Authoritarian Resilience in Putin's Russia

What attracted you to the CDDRL Pre/post-doctoral program? I study the connection between state capacity and political regimes - the topic that is at the core of many research initiatives at CDDRL. Learning more about this work and receiving feedback for my dissertation will enrich and sharpen my analysis, while helping me to place it into a comparative context. I am looking forward to discussing my work with the faculty who study the post-Soviet region. I also will explore policy implications of my work with the help of policy experts at CDDRL.

What do you hope to accomplish during your nine-month residency at the CDDRL? Besides finishing writing my dissertation, I will workshop three working papers to prepare them for publication. The first one argues that Putin's regime used the school system to administer a large-scale electoral fraud in 2012 presidential elections; the second one shows how the networks of social organizations were used by subnational autocrats to strengthen the regime; and the third one will look at the factors that make the abuse of such organizations more difficult in some regions. In addition to these papers I will continue developing my post-graduation research project exploring the relationship between social trust and distrust, institutions, political competition, and democratization.

Fun fact: I have spent 25 years of my life in Siberia, and I can tell you: Chicago winters are worse!



shelby embedded
Shelby Grossman

CDDRL Postdoctoral Fellow

Hometown: Reading, MA

Academic Institution: Harvard University

Discipline & Graduation Date:  Government, Summer 2016

Research interests: political economy of development, private governance, market institutions, Sub-Saharan Africa, survey methods

Dissertation Title: The Politics of Order in Informal Markets: Evidence from Lagos

What attracted you to the CDDRL post-doctoral program? I was attracted to CDDRL largely for its community of scholars. Affiliated faculty work on the political economy of development and medieval and modern market institutions, topics that are tied to my own interests.

What do you hope to accomplish during your nine-month residency at the CDDRL? I plan to prepare a book manuscript based on my dissertation, a project that explains variation in the provision of pro-trade institutions in private market organizations through the study of physical marketplaces in Nigeria. In addition, I will continue to remotely manage an on-going project in Nigeria (with Meredith Startz) investigating whether reputation alleviates contracting frictions. I also plan to work on submitting to journals a few working papers, including one on the politics of non-compliance with polio vaccination in Nigeria (with Jonathan Phillips and Leah Rosenzweig). 

Fun fact: Contrary to popular belief, not all cheese is vegetarian. I have a website to help people determine if a cheese is vegetarian or not: 



daniel embedded
Daniel Mattingly

CDDRL Postdoctoral Fellow

Hometown: Oakland, California

Academic Institution: University of California, Berkeley

Discipline & Graduation Date: Political Science, Summer 2016

Research Interests: Governance, rule of law, state building, authoritarian politics, Chinese politics

Dissertation Title: The Social Origins of State Power: Democratic Institutions and Local Elites in China

What attracted you to CDDRL?  The Center has a fantastic community of scholars and practitioners who work on the areas that I'm interested in, including governance and the rule of law. I'm excited to learn from the CDDRL community and participate in the Center's events. The fellowship also provides me with valuable time to finish my book manuscript before I start teaching.

What do you hope to accomplish during your nine-month residency at the CDDRL? While at CDDRL, I plan to prepare my book manuscript and to work on some related projects on local elites and state power in China and elsewhere. 

Fun fact: I grew up on an organic farm in Vermont.



lauren embedded
Lauren E. Young

CDDRL Postdoctoral Fellow

Hometown: Saratoga, CA

Academic Institution: Columbia University 

Discipline & Graduation Date: Political Science (Comparative Politics, Methods), May 2016 (defense), Oct 2016 (degree conferral)

Research Interests: political violence, political economy of development, autocratic persistence, democratization, protest, electoral violence

Dissertation Title: The Psychology of Repression and Dissent in Autocracy

What attracted you to the CDDRL post-doctoral program? As a graduate of the CISAC honors program when I was an undergraduate at Stanford, I have seen first-hand how intellectually stimulating, collaborative, and plugged into policy CDDRL is. While at the center I will be revising my dissertation work on the political psychology of participation in pro-democracy movements in Zimbabwe for submission as a book manuscript, and moving forward new projects that similarly seek to understand how different forms of violence by non-state actors affects citizens' preferences and decision-making. Because of its deep bench of experts on autocracy, narco-trafficking, and insurgency, CDDRL will add enormous value to these projects.

What do you hope to accomplish during your nine-month residency at the CDDRL?  During my fellowship year, my primary goal is to revise my research on Zimbabwe into a book manuscript. I defended my dissertation as three stand-alone articles, including two experiments showing that emotions influence whether opposition supporters in Zimbabwe express their pro-democracy preferences and a descriptive paper showing that repression has a larger effect on the behavior of the poor. To prepare the book manuscript during my fellowship, I will bring in additional quantitative and qualitative descriptive evidence and tie the three papers together into a cohesive argument about how opposition supporters make decisions about participation in protest, why emotions have such a large effect on these decisions, and how this affects variation across individuals and the strategic choices of autocrats and activists.

Fun fact: During my fieldwork I took an overnight train from Victoria Falls to a southern city in Zimbabwe and hitch-hiked into a national park. It got a little nerve-wracking when night started to fall, but ended with  an invitation to a barbecue! 


All News button
Based on first-hand participant-observation, this talk will examine the culture, politics, and spatiality of the Sunflower Movement. Taiwan's most significant social movement in decades, the Sunflower Movement not only blocked the passage of a major trade deal with China, but reshaped popular discourse and redirected Taiwan's political and cultural trajectory. It re-energized student and civil society, precipitated the historic defeat of the KMT in the 2014 local elections, and prefigured the DPP's strong position coming into the 2016 presidential and legislative election season.
The primary spatial tactic of the Sunflowers-- occupation of a government building-- was so successful that a series of protests in the summer of 2015 by high school students was partly conceived and represented as a "second Sunflower Movement". These students, protesting "China-centric" curriculum changes, attempted to occupy the Ministry of Education building. Thwarted by police, these students settled for the front courtyard, where a Sunflower-style pattern of encampments and performances emerged. While this movement did not galvanize the wider public as dramatically as its predecessor, it did demonstrate the staying power of the Sunflower Movement and its occupation tactics for an even younger cohort of activists.
The Sunflower Movement showed that contingent, street-level, grassroots action can have a major impact on Taiwan's cross-Strait policies, and inspired and trained a new generation of youth activists. But with the likely 2016 presidential win of the DPP, which has attempted to draw support from student activists while presenting a less radical vision to mainstream voters, what's in store for the future of Taiwanese student and civic activism? And with strong evidence of growing Taiwanese national identification and pro-independence sentiment, particularly among youth, what's in store for the future of Taiwan's political culture? 

Speaker Bio

Ian Rowen in Legislative Yuan
Ian Rowen in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan during the Sunflower Student Movement protest.

Ian Rowen is PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and recent Visiting Fellow at the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan, Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, and Fudan University. He participated in both the Sunflower and Umbrella Movements and has written about them for The Journal of Asian StudiesThe Guardian, and The BBC (Chinese), among other outlets. He has also published about Asian politics and protest in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers (forthcoming) and the Annals of Tourism Research. His PhD research, funded by the US National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, has focused on the political geography of tourism and protest in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. 


Presentation Slides

Ian Rowen Doctoral Candidate University of Colorado Dept of Geography

The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice (GSDPP), in collaboration with the Leadership Academy for Development (LAD), an affiliate of Stanford University, will be offering a course in April 2015 that addresses some of the challenges faced by public sector leaders as they foster economic growth in politically-charged environments. 

This course was run successfully in both 2011 and 2013. The 2015 version – updated with new case studies – will also be facilitated by international and national trainers and experts. 

The course is a 5-day, intensive programme for a small number of high level government officials and business leaders from South Africa and other African countries (25-30 in total). It will explore how government can encourage and enable the private sector to play a more effective, productive role in economic growth and development. The curriculum is designed to reinforce and illustrate three critically important hypotheses about the role of public policy in private sector development.

Case studies for this course are available here.  

University of Cape Town and the Cape Milner Hotel

Johannesburg, South Africa


Encina Hall
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

Satre Family Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Professor, by courtesy, of Economics

Marcel Fafchamps is the Satre Family senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and a member of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. Fafchamps is a professor (by courtesy) for the Department of Economics at Stanford University. His research interest includes economic development, market institutions, social networks, and behavioral economics -- with a special focus on Africa and South Asia.

Prior to joining FSI, from 1999-2013, Fafchamps served as professor of development economics for the Department of Economics at Oxford University. He also served as deputy director and then co-director of the Center for the Study of African Economies. From 1989 to 1996 Fafchamps was an assistant professor with the Food Research Institute at Stanford University. Following the closure of the Institute, he taught for two years for the Department of Economics. For the 1998-1999 academic year, Fafchamps was on sabbatical leave at the research department of the World Bank. Before pursuing his PhD in 1986, Fafchamps was based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for five years during his employment with the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency overlooking issues of employment, income distribution, and vocational training in Africa.

He has authored two books, Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Evidence, published by MIT Press in 2004 and Rural Poverty, Risk, and Development, published in 2003 by Elgar Press and has published numerous articles in academic journals.

Fafchamps serves as the editor-in-chief of Economic Development and Cultural Change. Previously he had served as chief editor of the Journal of African Economies from 2000 until 2013, associate editor for the Economic Journal, the Journal of Development Economics, Economic Development and Cultural Change, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, and the Revue d'Economie du Développement.

He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an affiliated professor with J-PAL, a senior fellow with the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, a research fellow with IZA, Germany, and with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, UK, and an affiliate with the University of California’s Center for Effective Global Action.

Fafchamps has degrees in Law and in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain. He holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California Berkeley. 

Curriculum Vitae 


Working Papers

Encina Hall, C149
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305

(650) 725-0500
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros joined the FSI faculty in 2013 after serving for five years as the director of the Center for US-Mexico studies at the University of California, San Diego. He earned his Ph.D at Duke University in 1997. He was an assistant professor of political science at Stanford from 2001-2008, before which he served as an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Diaz-Cayeros has also served as a researcher at Centro de Investigacion Para el Desarrollo, A.C. in Mexico from 1997-1999. His work has focused on federalism, poverty and violence in Latin America, and Mexico in particular. He has published widely in Spanish and English. His book Federalism, Fiscal Authority and Centralization in Latin America was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007 (reprinted 2016). His latest book (with Federico Estevez and Beatriz Magaloni) is: The Political Logic of Poverty Relief Electoral Strategies and Social Policy in Mexico. His work has primarily focused on federalism, poverty and economic reform in Latin America, and Mexico in particular, with more recent work addressing crime and violence, youth-at-risk, and police professionalization. 

Director of the Center for Latin American Studies
Affiliated faculty at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law
Subscribe to Agriculture policy