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Faculty Announcements – 1/22

January 22, 2010

1. German Saturday School

2. Stammtisch – German Conversation Club

3. Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis Colloquium Series, Spring 2010 

4. German Singing Group

5. Norwegian and Swedish Coffee and Conversation 








1. German Saturday School

The German Saturday school is starting its semester program on January 23. It is geared towards children who e.g. have one or both parents who are native speakers or children who have lived in a German-speaking country for a while and thus have some basic knowledge of the language. The teachers engage the children in language and cultural activities and it involves a whole lot of fun! Cost is $5 per Saturday for babies and toddlers up to 2 years, and $10 for older children. For detailed information about venues, programming etc., please contact Heike Meya (

2. Stammtisch – German Conversation Club

Please join us this Monday at 6:30pm at Bear’s Place for German conversation! Email Nikole Langjahr at for more information.

3. Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis Colloquium Series, Spring 2010

Place: Workshop Tocqueville Room

513 North Park Avenue

Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.

 You are welcome to bring your lunch. Coffee is provided free of charge and soft drinks are available. Copies of Workshop colloquia papers can be found on our website at If you have a question regarding assistance or our Colloquium Series, please contact Gayle Higgins (812-855-0441, We hope you will be able to join us!


JANUARY 25, 2010

 Co-sponsored by the Political Economy of Democratic Sustainability (PEDS)


Presented by Dr. Philip Keefer, Lead Research Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank, Washington, DC

Abstract: A large literature concludes that competition among ethnic groups causes policy failure, slow growth, and civil war. An alternative view is that features of political competition such as the lack of credibility of political promises give rise to both ethnic competition and adverse development outcomes. If political parties credibly represent the collective interests of ethnic groups, the first view is more likely to be true. Data from Afrobarometer surveys in 16 sub-Saharan African countries suggest, though, that parties’ ethnic appeals are not credible. Ethnic clustering of political support is less widespread than believed; members of clustered ethnic groups are no more likely to express a partisan preference than others; even when they are more likely, they exhibit high rates of partisan disinterest that are inconsistent with credible ethnic appeals; and, finally, partisan preferences are at least as affected by factors such as gift-giving. These findings emphasize the importance of looking beyond ethnicity in analyses of African economic development.

BIO: Philip Keefer is a Lead Research Economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. The focus of his work, based on experience in countries ranging from Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic to Indonesia, México, Perú and Pakistan, is the determinants of political incentives to pursue economic development. His research, on issues such as the impact of insecure property rights on growth; the effects of political credibility on policy; and the sources of political credibility in democracies and autocracies, has appeared in journals ranging from the Quarterly Journal of Economics to the American Review of Political Science.

. . . . .


January 27, 2010


Presented by Dr. Bryan Bruns, Visiting Scholar, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University Bloomington

Abstract: Game theory models such as Samaritan’s dilemmas (Buchanan 1977, Wilson et al., 2005) clarify the need to carefully design aid programs so they will encourage rather than discourage local efforts. Better analysis and design of cost-sharing rules for irrigation system repair and improvement can align incentives and make commitments more credible. Shifting external investments from single-shot rehabilitation to progressive improvement aids adaptive problem-solving in irrigation co-management.

BIO: As a consulting sociologist, Bryan Bruns has specialized in improving participation in irrigation and water resources management, mostly in Southeast Asia. He co-edited Negotiating Water Rights and Water Rights Reform: Lessons for Institutional Design, and has written a variety of other publications, listed at He earned a Ph.D. at Cornell University in Development Sociology, with minors in Agricultural Economics and Southeast Asian Studies. This presentation is part of his current work on “Customizing Governance in Commons: Improving Institutional Design and Finding Better Ways to Share Water.”


4. German Singing Group

This is a reminder that our singing group will meet for the first time on Monday at 3:30pm in Ballantine Hall 664. We still have about 5 extra spots, so let me know if you want to attend! We will practice German folk songs and towards the end of the semester prepare for a short
performance at the departmental end-of-year reception. Email Nikole Langjahr at for more information.

5. Norwegian and Swedish Coffee and Conversation

Every Wednesday evening at the IMU Starbucks, 7-8 pm and

Monday, January 25

Monday, February 22

Monday, March 29

Monday, April 19

in Ballantine Hall 643, 3:30 – 4:45 PM

We now have a really fun Pan-Scandinavian group getting together. Don’t miss the fun – join us! Velkommen!

Contact Gergana May at for more information.

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