Grants Database

The Foundation awards approximately 200 grants per year (excluding the Sloan Research Fellowships), totaling roughly $80 million dollars in annual commitments in support of research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. This database contains grants for currently operating programs going back to 2008. For grants from prior years and for now-completed programs, see the annual reports section of this website.

Grants Database

Grantee
Amount
City
Year
  • grantee: The Brookings Institution
    amount: $600,000
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2014

    To present accessible, reliable, and influential research through the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Behavioral Economics and Household Finance (BEHF)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Justin Wolfers

    This grant provides continued support for the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) a series of conferences and journals that serve as premier outlets for impartial, nonpartisan, policy-relevant economic research. Over the next three years, grant funds will support organizational and administrative costs associated with the BPEA, including biannual meetings, commissioned papers, and a “Living Papers” series that allows research results to be updated in real time as new data becomes available.  Potential topics to be covered include household finance, macroeconomic dynamics, quantitative easing, and macroprudential regulation.

    To present accessible, reliable, and influential research through the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity

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  • grantee: University of Michigan
    amount: $999,785
    city: Ann Arbor, MI
    year: 2014

    To establish an independent, scientific, and comprehensive source of detailed information about the results of public and private investments in science

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Economic Analysis of Science and Technology (EAST)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Jason Owen-Smith

    If those who discover new ideas could appropriate all the benefits, then, at least in principle, market mechanisms could efficiently determine investments in science. But private and collective incentives diverge in the presence of externalities. We just do not know in advance where, when, or for whom research results will become valuable. Because predicting or charging for such applications can be difficult, markets tend to underallocate and misallocate support for basic research. This grant funds research by a team led by Jason Owen-Smith to examine the return to investments in basic science by tracking how research grants eventually do and do not result in gainful applications. To collect, process, and study the detailed data necessary for carrying this out, Owen-Smith and his colleagues will establish an Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS) based at the University of Michigan.  Foundation funds will support data infrastructure at the University of Michigan, as well as infrastructure at the University of Chicago and Ohio State.

    To establish an independent, scientific, and comprehensive source of detailed information about the results of public and private investments in science

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  • grantee: University of Pennsylvania
    amount: $275,527
    city: Philadelphia, PA
    year: 2014

    To study how knowledge generated by research and development spills over through innovation networks

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Economic Analysis of Science and Technology (EAST)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Ufuk Akcigit

    If those who discover new ideas could appropriate all the benefits, then, at least in principle, market mechanisms could efficiently determine investments in science. But private and collective incentives diverge in the presence of externalities. We just do not know in advance where, when, or for whom research results will become valuable. Because predicting or charging for such applications can be difficult, markets tend to underallocate and misallocate support for basic research. This grant supports efforts by economists Ufuk Akcigit of the University of Pennsylvania and Daron Acemoglu of Harvard University to study economic spillover effects associated with technological progress through the examination and modeling of innovation networks.  Using patent, citation, and other data, the team will construct new theoretical models of innovation spillovers, conduct detailed empirical analyses, and evaluate the counterfactual effects of various innovation policies.  Additional topics to be studied include the role of innovation policy in an open economy; the roots of major real-world innovations that led to significant spillovers; and the role networks play among inventors and financial institutions in generating spillovers.

    To study how knowledge generated by research and development spills over through innovation networks

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  • grantee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    amount: $868,954
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2014

    To develop tools that are computationally, administratively, and legally practical for conducting privacy preserving research on social science datasets

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Empirical Economic Research Enablers (EERE)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Micah Altman

    This grant funds efforts by Micah Altman of MIT and Salil Vadhan of Harvard to develop practical tools that researchers and repositories can use to process private and proprietary data. The goal of the project is to provide workable procedures that improve the accessibility, reproducibility, and confidentiality of “big data” produced from a variety of sources.  Potential outputs include templates for legal agreements as well as software for depositing and accessing sensitive information. In addition, Altman, Vadhan, and their team plan to analyze the incentives and constraints on players throughout the system—from research funders to university administrators, and from potential data providers to academic publishers. For social scientists, working with personally identifiable data poses significant technical, administrative, and legal challenges.  Though the big data era has made these challenges increasingly ubiquitous, there is hardly anywhere to turn for reliable standards, precedents, or guidance.  This project aims to help rectify that pressing problem.

    To develop tools that are computationally, administratively, and legally practical for conducting privacy preserving research on social science datasets

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  • grantee: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    amount: $93,150
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2014

    To study productivity in higher education through the analysis of institutions and markets

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Caroline Hoxby

    To study productivity in higher education through the analysis of institutions and markets

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  • grantee: University of California, Berkeley
    amount: $124,992
    city: Berkeley, CA
    year: 2014

    To apply behavioral insights to labor economics, particularly through the design of unemployment insurance schemes

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Behavioral Economics and Household Finance (BEHF)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Stefano DellaVigna

    To apply behavioral insights to labor economics, particularly through the design of unemployment insurance schemes

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  • grantee: Princeton University
    amount: $115,000
    city: Princeton, NJ
    year: 2014

    To connect and train graduate students from around the world who are beginning dissertation research on macro-financial models

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Economic Implications of the Great Recession (EIGR)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Markus Brunnermeier

    To connect and train graduate students from around the world who are beginning dissertation research on macro-financial models

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  • grantee: Princeton University
    amount: $577,544
    city: Princeton, NJ
    year: 2014

    To study how the psychology of scarcity and slack has implications for behavioral and traditional economics

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Behavioral Economics and Household Finance (BEHF)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Eldar Shafir

    Funds from this grant support a series of surveys, tests, and experiments by Princeton behavioral psychologist Eldar Shafir that examine scarcity and its implications for the social and behavioral sciences.  Findings to date suggest that how closely people’s behavior complies with standard economic models of rationality depends interestingly on the constraints they face when making decisions.  Shafir has found that those who are poor (or put into an experimental situation of scarcity) often act more like the rational “homo economicus” posited by normative economic theorists.  In contrast, those who are rich (or who are put into an experimental situation of plenty) often exhibit curious biases and behavioral anomalies that deviate from what standard economic models predict.  Abundance, Shafir’s research suggests, makes inconsistency and irrationality more affordable.  The findings stand in stark contrast to the widespread belief that those in poverty make poor economic decisions.  The truth may be exactly the reverse. This grant will fund the continuation and expansion of Shafir’s research over the next three years, allowing deeper investigation of what factors explain behavioral deviation from traditional economic models and the implication for the design and implementation of policy interventions. 

    To study how the psychology of scarcity and slack has implications for behavioral and traditional economics

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  • grantee: Harvard University
    amount: $992,018
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2014

    To promote interdepartmental, intergovernmental, and international cooperation on policy-relevant research by behavioral scientists

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Behavioral Economics and Household Finance (BEHF)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Max Bazerman

    Behavioral economics should have many implications for government policy.  With this motivation, the Prime Minister’s Office in the U.K. established a Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) in 2010 to help bring insights from behavioral economics to the design and evaluation of government policy. The BIT’s successes in a wide variety of areas—from tax collection to energy efficiency to organ donation—have inspired other countries to launch similar initiatives, including Australia, the Netherlands, Israel, and the United States. The academics and government officials leading such efforts have much to gain by comparing notes with one another.  This grant funds a joint effort by David Halpern, head of the BIT in the U.K., and Max Bazerman, head of the Behavioral Insights Group (BIG) at Harvard, to organize a series of meetings, international conferences, and advanced courses that will bring together researchers from all over the globe to exchange the latest insights on the intersection of behavioral research and public policy.

    To promote interdepartmental, intergovernmental, and international cooperation on policy-relevant research by behavioral scientists

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  • grantee: The Australian National University
    amount: $583,646
    city: Canberra, Australia
    year: 2014

    To improve teaching and research in quantitative economics through the development of compelling, open, and reproducible models using Python

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Empirical Economic Research Enablers (EERE)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator John Stachurski

    In contrast with academics in other fields, economists and other social scientists have been slow to adopt new open source programming languages, instead sticking with expensive proprietary applications like Matlab and STATA when doing modeling or running complex analyses on data.  Because such programs cannot be used without a license, their popularity hamstrings reproducibility, hampers archiving, and hinders reuse of research that employs them. This grant funds efforts by Nobel Prize–winner Tom Sargent of New York University and computational economist John Stachurski of Australian National University to speed the adoption of Python—a compact, powerful open source programming and computation platform—among economists and social scientists.  Funds from this grant will bring Stachurski to NYU for a year to work with Sargent on expanding and promoting the usefulness of Python to economists everywhere.  They will develop free Python modules and teaching materials, publicize the capabilities of the new iPython notebook, give presentations, publish a textbook, and further develop the materials and resources freely available on their website, quant-econ.net.

    To improve teaching and research in quantitative economics through the development of compelling, open, and reproducible models using Python

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