The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The Cash Prize: A Decision Experiment

November 7, 2013

Tomorrow, my great friend and coauthor Dursun Peksen and I will collect our $200 for winning the best paper award at the annual meeting of ISA-Midwest in St. Louis.  The paper, which I’ve talked about a little bit before at the Duck, is actually forthcoming now at the Journal of Politics.[1]  Dursun has won quite a few prizes before but this is my first time winning any sort of best paper award.[2] The award information says the prize is supposed to be in cash.  I’m hoping it is because this will probably be the first time I’ve had access to cash with my name on it since I was a kid.[3] I’m unsure what to do with my take of the winnings but I know the money has to be spent while I’m at the conference – otherwise, I’m sure I’ll rethink my plan of action and want to do something sensible with it.[4]  Here are my ideas:

  1.  Top shelf liquor at the hotel bar.  Full stop.
  2. Walk across the river and put all $100 dollars on the roulette wheel.  I’ve never been in a casino.  Maybe I’ll win big and can skip this whole academic –thing altogether.
  3. Buy $100 worth of St. Louis Arch paraphernalia.  Wear it all during the conference.
  4. Room service delivered to the hotel conference room where I’m presenting a paper on Saturday.   Make sure that the server knows to deliver the food right when I’m presenting.  Eat in front of everyone and do not share.
  5. Buy one of those #1 fingers to wear during the conference luncheon on Saturday. The chair of my department, Cooper Drury, is being awarded a distinguished scholar award.   I’m sure some St. Louis Cardinals’ store next to the conference will still have one.


I’m guessing #1 will be my choice of action.  So, if any of you are at ISA-Midwest, drinks are on me![5]

[1] This isn’t a humble-brag. It’s just a brag.  It’s a blog, remember?  I’m supposed to brag.

[2] I did win a radio contest one time: the prize was a Domino’s New York Size pizza.

[3] My mom did – and this is completely true – send me a $10 check for a “book celebration” when my book was accepted.  And, it made my day!

[4] You know, like use it on my kids or something crazy like that.

[5] By accepting a drink, you agree to cite the paper at least ten (10) times in a positive way in your next 10 papers (regardless of the topic of your next 10 papers).  I kid, I kid.

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Amanda Murdie is Professor & Dean Rusk Scholar of International Relations in the Department of International Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She is the author of Help or Harm: The Human Security Effects of International NGOs (Stanford, 2014). Her main research interests include non-state actors, and human rights and human security.

When not blogging, Amanda enjoys hanging out with her two pre-teen daughters (as long as she can keep them away from their cell phones) and her fabulous significant other.