[MIT GOV/LAB is located just steps away from Kendall Square, the innovation hub of Cambridge. Image from Wikipedia.]

It’s been another busy year for MIT GOV/LAB (if you haven’t read it yet, check out our roundup from 2017). We’ve grown: five more graduate students and three new research staff joined the team and are rapidly developing our base of expertise, interest, and capacity. Below are some of our favorite stories from this past year – several from new team members – which give insight into how we work, our partner collaboration, and what we’ve learned.

  • Hacking Political Science: A Renewed Push for Diversity and Inclusion by Siena Harlin. Highlights from the Hackathon on Diversity and Inclusion hosted by the APSA Presidential Task Force on Women’s Advancement in Boston. This timely piece addresses the push within political science to be more inclusive and highlights some innovative ideas to achieve this goal. Learn more about GOV/LAB’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • When Newly Empowered Leaders of the Poor Run in Local Elections by Selva Swetha A.R. Following up on our Making All Voices Count project, a look at how a newly-trained community leader engaged in recent local elections in the Philippines. This piece reminds us that even when the research is completed, the story is rarely over. Swetha follows up on what comes next for graduates of a civic leadership training program and provides highlights from a results dissemination workshop with partners in the Philippines.
  • Incentives and Trust: Exploring Performance in the Malian Civil Service by PhD student Stuart Russell. Stuart partners with Accountability Lab to explore the incentives bureaucrats face in Mali’s civil service with support from a GOV/LAB seed grant. This piece adds nuance to the traditional research on trust between citizens and the state by examining role of trust among civil servants as issues arise in the wake of an unconventional accountability program.
  • Causes and Consequences of Uncertainty Among the Urban Poor in Lagos by PhD student Nicole Wilson. Nicole reports back from the field on the results of her GOV/LAB seed project on informal settlements in Lagos, Nigeria. This research explores the tension between trust in government, compliance, and uncertainty among residents of informal settlements in Lagos and reminds us that cooperation with government should not be conflated with trust in it.
  • Twaweza learns, and so do we by Alisa Zomer. A few highlights from Twaweza’s Evidence and Ideas event where MIT GOV/LAB presented research on elections and access to information in East Africa. This introspective report highlights the importance of pausing to think critically about how learning organizations can responsibly generate and use evidence.

To browse through the rest of GOV/LAB’s stories, check out the updates section of our website. We will be on a brief posting hiatus for the next few months as our website undergoes maintenance, but don’t hesitate to reach out to mitgovlab@mit.edu if you would like to learn more about our ongoing research and partner activities.