Studying Public Policy with Peers From All Over the World: My Year as a Frédéric Bastiat Fellow

May 30, 2018
Katie Allen, who just finished her time as a Frédéric Bastiat Fellow, in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.

The Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship is a one-year program for graduate students of all disciplines with an interest in public policy. Introducing students to different schools of political economy, the fellowship prepares students to engage in contemporary policy analysis. Fellows attend several colloquia hosted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University throughout the year. The $5,000 stipend covers travel and lodging for these events, and fellows are eligible to apply for more conference and research support.

We talked to Katie Allen, who recently finished her year as a Frédéric Bastiat Fellow, to learn more about the fellowship and get some tips for preparing an application!

1. What inspired you to apply for the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship?

My background is in public administration, but my master’s courses only briefly covered Keynesian economics and didn’t offer much perspective on other guiding economic theories.  As I finish my doctoral degree, I am researching the role of special interest groups in state-level education policy. I was initially interested in the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship program because of its unique approach to viewing and analyzing public policy through various economic schools of thought. The program focuses on free-market economic theory in policy-making, which is important to understanding shifts in government services and the roles of policy actors over the past few decades and into the future. Being exposed to scholarship from Nobel-prize winning economists as well as contemporary research on the role of government in society is extremely beneficial to improving my understanding of government and the multitude of ideologies that shape the world we live in. Another aspect that made me want to participate was the opportunity to meet and engage with peers from across the globe with an amazing variety of academic backgrounds who all share a common interest in public policy. As I work on my dissertation, I have found that many of the readings provided by the fellowship have been useful, but most importantly, they have improved my critical thinking ability.

2. What are the benefits of the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship?

The program is extremely well managed and the scholars who speak at colloquia are very knowledgeable in their subject area. Hard copies of each book that was referenced during the conference were given to fellows, travel expenses were paid, and a stipend was given at the end of the fellowship. There were over 40 other fellows from all over the world working on either master or doctoral degrees who shared their unique experiences and perspectives during the symposia, which was a fascinating experience.

3. What tips would you give others applying to the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship?

The symposia are designed to be engaging, so applicants should be interested in open dialogue and differing opinions about contemporary government.  While there were some references to economic theories, one does not have to be an economist to understand the readings or the overall themes for each colloquium. Most important to the application is demonstrating a genuine interest in public policy, regardless of the sector where you work or that you study. The program offers opportunities for further engagement through research, so applicants should also consider how this fellowship experience works within their scholarly goals.

Katie Allen is a doctoral student at Kansas State University in education leadership, with a focus on policy and evaluation. Her dissertation explores incentives and motives of special interests groups in state-level education policy. In addition to her doctoral studies, Katie works at K-State’s Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation. Katie earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration at Kansas State University and Bachelor’s in History at University of Kansas.  

Interested in applying? Bookmark the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship your ProFellow account.

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