The View from Here

With school back in session (well, unless you count natural disasters), we’ve begun to evaluate where the project is going. The current goal is to get the paper ready for the 2011 Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies Conference in November. To do this, we are extending some of our work into the semester.

Professor Pickering is also looking to partner with a local NGO to collect more data from municipal governments. It has been enlightening to watch this process. Particularly, we have witnessed some of the unique constraints that researchers face, many of which are not initially apparent. As always, money is an issue, but simply setting up the methodology and maintaining rapport with an organization far away is key. We will be helping her with this process as much as we can.

In the long term, we are hoping to extend some of the work to evaluate similar programs in Macedonia. Many of these programs have already ended and the implementers have moved on, so there will be a unique set of issues with that research as well. However, to discern some of the common traits of decentralized government and municipal aid, it will eventually be necessary to look at another country.

This summer’s project has been enlightening and truly wonderful to work on. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m excited to see what is to come throughout the course of the semester and beyond.