Katherine Fugate, a senior economics major, is currently assisting Professor Margaret Triyana with her research on the impact of gender quotas in Indonesian elections on violence against women in Indonesia. Through this project they have gained experience with economics research by working on web scraping data on candidates and cleaning administrative data. Fugate also works as a research assistant for the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) and spent the summer in Seattle assisting one of the lab's partners, King County Metro, with research surrounding the impact of fares and transit service on low-income populations. Fugate is writing a senior honors thesis through the economics department, advised by Professor Emeritus Charles Wilber, which will be about what role distributism, as practiced by the Catholic Worker movement, can play in reducing poverty in the age of extreme wealth and income inequality in the US.
Outside of their involvement with the Kellogg International Scholars Program and LEO, Fugate also continues to be a part of the International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) through which they traveled to East Jerusalem for ten weeks in the summer of 2018. They presented at the 2019 Human Development Conference on how Tent of Nations, a Palestinian farm that Fugate worked at with an outreach mission of peacebuilding through environmental awareness and nonviolent resistance, provides a strong model for community-based development under occupation. Fugate has studied abroad in Heidelberg, Germany and is also involved with JIFFI (a student-run non-profit giving small loans to low income individuals in the South Bend community who are at risk for borrowing from predatory pay day lenders), the Gender Relations Department within Student Government, and Peace House (a student intentional community).
Thesis Title: Distributism and the Catholic Worker Movement: Small-scale Economics in the Age of Radical Inequality
Thesis Adviser: Charles Wilber
I am primarily interested in using economics as a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of public policy and aid programming as methods to lift individuals and communities out of poverty both domestically and internationally. Within the field of economics, I am particularly interested in work around development economics, behavioral economics, and political economy.
Currently, I am assisting Dr. Maggie Triyana with an upcoming project on women's political participation in Indonesia. Indonesia implemented a quota system for female candidates, and Dr. Triyana's research hopes to use the details of this quota system to analyze the strength of female politicians. Right now I am assisting in the data collection stage of the project and I have been compiling data from past election cycles. I have also written literature reviews and look forward to continuing to help with more analytical aspects of the project as it moves forward.