Julia Cagé awarded ERC "Starting" grant for PARTICIPATE
- Illustration of a big crowd
September 3rd, the European Research Council (ERC) officially published the list of projects it has retained for its 2020 “Starting Grants” Call. Only 13% of submitted proposals were successful for this year’s round.
As a reminder, Starting Grants are awarded to early-career researchers of any nationality with two to seven years of experience since completion of the PhD (or equivalent degree) and a scientific track record showing great promise.
The project “CamPAign Finance, InfoRmaTIon and InfluenCe: A ComprehensIve APproAch Using Individual-Level Data and CompuTEr Science Tools” (PARTICIPATE) submitted by permanent faculty member Julia CAGÉ, is one of only 11 projects selected at the European level in the field of economics. It is only one of five projects selected that were proposed by a French institution in the field of social sciences and humanities.
It is the 4th time that one of the Department’s faculty members has been awarded an ERC grant in the last year (Jeanne HAGENBACH, Alfred GALICHON and Thomas CHANEY received ERC funding in 2019/20) and the 16th time in less than 10 years.
Julia CAGÉ is Assistant Professor of Economics (tenure-track) at the Department since 2014. In 2018 she became the Co-director of LIEPP's "Evaluation of Democracy" research group. She is also a CEPR Research Affiliate.
Her research focuses on political economy, industrial organization and economic history. She is particularly interested in media economics, political participation and political attitudes.
Her early work focused on the media, new funding models and the impact of competition and the rise of the Internet on the quality of information being produced and on political attitudes. She notably co-authored an important paper with Nicolas Hervé and Marie-Luce Viaud which will be appearing this October in The Review of Economic Studies on The Production of Information in an Online World.
Her recent research focuses on the funding of democracy, particularly of political parties and election campaigns in Western Europe and North America, in a comparative perspective. Our Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers series has recently edited one of her working papers on the topic - The Heterogeneous Price of a Vote: Evidence from Multiparty Systems, 1993-2017 (joint with Yasmine Bekkouche and Edgard Dewitte). This line of research also motivated Julia Cagé to write a book accessible to the general public, published in English in 2020 by Harvard University Press: The Price of Democracy. The French edition (published by Fayard in 2018) was awarded the Prix Pétrarque de l’Essai France Culture-Le Monde in 2019 (read article in French).
The PARTICIPATE project brings together these different strands of research combined with a distinguishing feature common to her more recent research projects: the use of novel individual-level datasets (see The Price of Democracy’s data evidence and article about her 2020 SIOE award-winning paper ‘Heroes and Villains: The Effects of Combat Heroism on Autocratic Values and Nazi Collaboration in France’). Julia CAGÉ intends on combining the data with “the use of computer sciences tools (such as natural language processing techniques and machine learning).” The goal being “to develop a comprehensive approach to the study of campaign finance, information and influence, using new individual-level data and investigating recent changes in participation behaviors.”
For this new project Professor Cagé sets out to explore a number of questions: “What are the motives behind small campaign contributions? Does tax policy affect political giving? Why are so few politicians from the working class and can this change? What is the ability of the media to induce citizens to make electoral decisions they would not make if reporting were unbiased? ». Through the use of comprehensive individual-level datasets, “PARTICIPATE will help fill (the) gap” in research at the micro level. “By providing groundbreaking evidence on new forms of participation, it will lead to the reassessment of influential theories of special interest groups and policy formation.”