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: Stanford University
    amount: $999,995
    city: Stanford, CA
    year: 2011

    To develop practical techniques for allowing researchers to extract aggregate statistics from large datasets while protecting the privacy of information contained in individual entries

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator John Mitchell

    Datasets that contain private or proprietary information pose a vexing problem. On the one hand, we want to make these datasets available for statistical studies and other research. On the other, we want to protect the privacy of those people or firms referenced in the data. Effective solutions to the problem of how to maximize the usefulness of data while at the same time ensuring privacy have proven elusive. Sheltering datasets off in data enclaves does a good job of protecting proprietary information, but severely restricts their availability for research and inhibits the reproducibility of results. Releasing "anonymized" versions of the data-scrubbed of the private information-greatly increases its accessibility to researchers, but often results in data that is not useful or that can be combined with other public data to "reverse engineer" the removed private information. Funds from this grant support the work of Stanford University's Cynthia Dwork, who is developing methods for accessing data that both maximizes its usefulness to researchers and ensures the privacy and confidentiality of sensitive information in the data. Dwork's primary insight is the development of a precise mathematical definition she calls "differential privacy", which maintains that a data access system assures differential privacy if the outcome of any admissible analysis is essentially independent of whether or not any given individual's information is included in the dataset, and her work has already shown mathematically that several useful data release mechanisms can ensure privacy in this sense. Her work has the potential to become the basis for new ways of exploring sensitive data that could revolutionize empirical research in the social sciences.

    To develop practical techniques for allowing researchers to extract aggregate statistics from large datasets while protecting the privacy of information contained in individual entries

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  • grantee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    amount: $327,322
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2011

    To assess whether and to what extent the loss of domestic manufacturing due to trade with China affects the productivity of other U.S. firms in the same geographical area

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Daron Acemoglu

    States, localities, and countries compete aggressively to attract or retain manufacturing plants by offering companies sizable tax breaks and subsidies. This practice is generally presumed to be economical because the benefits from having these facilities-the "spillovers"-will be greater than the cost of the subsidies. When several competing firms locate in the same geographic area, an economically desirable cluster (or "agglomeration economy") is created, which has the potential to yield higher productivity for all the other firms in that cluster ("productivity spillovers"). Funds from this grant support the ongoing work of M.I.T. economists Daron Acemoglu and David Autor, who are studying the economic importance of these geographic clusters of manufacturing firms and the relationship between innovation and manufacturing within these clusters. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufacturers, Census of Manufacturers, and Economic Census, Acemoglu and Autor will investigate whether and how strongly the closing of U.S. manufacturing plants depresses the productivity of other manufacturing plants in the same geographic area.

    To assess whether and to what extent the loss of domestic manufacturing due to trade with China affects the productivity of other U.S. firms in the same geographical area

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  • grantee: The University of Chicago
    amount: $995,670
    city: Chicago, IL
    year: 2011

    To construct and calibrate models for analyzing how the financial sector and its regulation can influence the macroeconomy

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Lars Hansen

    The financial sector has traditionally played a minor role in macroeconomic models, typically acting only as a passive transmission mechanism for monetary transactions. Prior to 2008, this minor role seemed justified. Financial crises seemed to have only limited effects on the general economy, so an oversimplified portrayal of the financial sector did not seem unreasonable. After all, the Dow fell almost 23% on Black Monday, October 19, 1987, without triggering a recession. The negative effects of the turn-of-the-century dot-com bubble were mostly confined to Silicon Valley. So when the 2008 financial crisis resulted in a recession in the U.S. and elsewhere, many macroeconomists were at a loss. We are now acutely aware of the need for re-imagined macroeconomic models that take systematic financial risk into account, models that address how financial shocks can be transmitted to the wider economy and vice versa, and that help policy-makers identify and limit systematic risks. Such research has hardly begun, however, and economists are divided on how new models should be formulated. Funds from this grant will support the efforts of Lars Hansen of the University of Chicago and Andrew Lo of M.I.T to convene a working group of leading economists to explore, critique, and consolidate new approaches to modeling systemic financial risk and how the financial sector is connected to the broader economy.

    To construct and calibrate models for analyzing how the financial sector and its regulation can influence the macroeconomy

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  • grantee: University of California, Davis
    amount: $495,650
    city: Davis, CA
    year: 2011

    To enable international economic comparisons by supporting the Penn World Table's next generation

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Robert Feenstra

    The Penn World Table (PWT), a set of national accounts data which measures real GDP and relative price levels across countries and over time, is one of the most frequently cited datasets in economics. A 2009 found that, of all the cross-country empirical publications in the economic growth and development literature, nearly two thirds are based on the PWT. Version 6.1 of the PWT has more than 3,000 citations. Until now, the PWT has been a product of the Center for International Comparisons at the University of Pennsylvania, and was produced through the pioneering work of Simon Kuznets, Irving Kravis, Alan Heston, Robert Summers, and Bettina Aten. Yet this team has now either retired or moved on to other pursuits. At this point, Heston, at 77 years old, is the only one still active in preparing the PWT, and shortages of staff and funding have slowed revisions and methodological improvements to the tables. The PWT needs a new home. This grant will partially fund the transition of the Penn World Table from the University of Pennsylvania to the University of California, Davis and the University of Groningen under the care of Robert Feenstra and Marcel Timmer, respectively. Additional funds are provided to evaluate and, if appropriate, implement proposed methodological improvements to the PWT.

    To enable international economic comparisons by supporting the Penn World Table's next generation

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  • grantee: University of Oxford
    amount: $845,747
    city: Oxford, United Kingdom
    year: 2011

    To promote and advance international comparative studies of household finance

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Tarun Ramadorai

    Researchers who study household finance study how households make investment decisions, with a particular eye on the common, costly mistakes households make when making important investment choices, such as purchasing a home or allocating savings for retirement. As such, conclusions reached by researchers in this field are highly relevant to policy and regulatory issues of consumer protection, financial literacy, and financial product design. Unfortunately, however, household finance research has tended to focus on households in a small number of developed countries such as the U.S., Sweden, and Finland, that have good, easily accessible data on household investment behavior. Though understandable-good research requires good data-the small number of such countries limits the usefulness of the research conducted, since it is unclear how lessons learned from the household financial behavior of Swedes might be applied to Brazil or India where market conditions, social norms, and national institutions differ substantially. This grant supports the work of Tarun Ramadorai of Oxford University and John Y. Campbell of Harvard University who are working to broaden and enrich the field of household finance by bringing new international comparative perspectives to the field. Over the next three years, Ramadorai and Campbell will create a new international dataset on household financial behavior sourced from both developed and developing economies. Grant funds will support the creation of this dataset, its analysis, a fellowship to encourage participation by foreign economists in the project, and several conferences and academic workshops focused on topics relevant to the field.

    To promote and advance international comparative studies of household finance

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  • grantee: University of Toronto
    amount: $976,171
    city: Toronto, ON, Canada
    year: 2011

    To study the economics of knowledge contribution and distribution

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Joshua Gans

    What motivates people to share what they know for the common good? Why do people edit pages in Wikipedia, contribute to the Zagat Guide, or participate in open-source software development when there is little or no (apparent) incentive to do so? Not only do traditional economic theories and models have little to say about the "economics of knowledge contribution," the issues are not even easy to talk about within existing theoretical frameworks. This grant will fund the work of economists Joshua Gans of the University of Toronto and Fiona Murray of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as they seek to understand and explain the economics of why some uncompensated creative activities thrive for the benefit of society while others do not.

    To study the economics of knowledge contribution and distribution

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  • grantee: Yale University
    amount: $118,851
    city: New Haven, CT
    year: 2011

    To construct and test behavioral models of how bankruptcy and mortgage default regulations impact household financial decisions

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Costas Meghir

    To construct and test behavioral models of how bankruptcy and mortgage default regulations impact household financial decisions

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  • grantee: University of Wisconsin, Madison
    amount: $45,000
    city: Madison, WI
    year: 2011

    To model and empirically test for unintended behavioral consequences of Medicare Part D regulations

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Francesco Decarolis

    To model and empirically test for unintended behavioral consequences of Medicare Part D regulations

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  • grantee: Center for the Study of the Presidency
    amount: $67,600
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2011

    To design and run an exercise involving high-level public and private sector participants that simulates a hypothetical financial crisis

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Matthew Purushotham

    To design and run an exercise involving high-level public and private sector participants that simulates a hypothetical financial crisis

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  • grantee: Syracuse University
    amount: $124,775
    city: Syracuse, NY
    year: 2011

    To analyze the nature and estimated number of jobs associated with the wind energy industry in the U.S. and elsewhere

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Jason Dedrick

    To analyze the nature and estimated number of jobs associated with the wind energy industry in the U.S. and elsewhere

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