The SSRL Research Discussion/Luncheon series continues! If you missed last week’s event, or need a clue on what’s happening, we are celebrating the spirit of academic research this spring by promoting and sharing the research work of our fellows, staff, and visiting scholars. To show our support of our AU scholars, SSRL hosts a series of research discussion luncheons that continues with tomorrow’s event on April 8, 2011.

*Lunch will be provided!*

Professor James Lee, PhD


Dr. James Lee is the Director of the Social Science Research Lab and faculty at the School of International Service. He is also the Director of the Mandala Projects, which offer a new perspective of critical issues on our world and how they relate with new technologies. His research focuses on the environment, climate change, and conflict. He is the author of Climate Change and Armed Conflict: Hot and Cold Wars.

Dr. Lee’s article explores the policy and research implications of border conflicts. These conflicts are likely to increase and new tools offer unique perspectives on how to analyze them. New geographic information devices such as Google Earth provide ease-of-use and low cost, giving a much larger population of users the ability to carry out research. The study of national borders is one that is rapidly changing as a result. This change is particularly relevant to understanding: (1) the impact of borders on people and (2) how differences in borders lead to conflict.

Rutendo Wendy Karamba


Ms. Karamba is pursuing a PhD in Economics at American University and is a fellow at the Social Science Research Lab. Her fields of interest are Labor and Development Economics where her research interests focus on impact of migration on sending households, labor market experiences of migrants, and development. She is also interested in incorporating gender dimensions into her research as an approach to analyzing individual and firm behaviors.

Ms. Karamba’s paper examines the link between migration and food consumption patterns in Ghana, which has a history of widespread migration and high levels of poverty. Data from 4130 households from the nationally representative 2005/2006 Ghana Living Standards Survey are used for the analysis. Since migrants self-select into migration, an instrumental variable approach is taken to analyze the relationship between migration and total food expenditures per captia, food expenditures across a range of food categories, and shares of food expenditures across these categories. Overall, the results indicate that migration does not substantially affect total food expenditures per capita, and has minimal noticeable effect on food expenditure patterns.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday!