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: American University
    amount: $207,665
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2011

    To create a research database by sampling and digitally preserving personal bankruptcy records going back over a century

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

    Federal court records document over 30 million personal bankruptcy cases during the century since the U.S. passed its first permanent bankruptcy law in 1898. Storing and maintaining these records is expensive, however-the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has been spending $2 million per year to keep about a million cubic feet of these paper records stored in boxes at Federal Records Centers in a dozen different regions-and efforts were recently announced to cut costs, possibly by disposing of all these records. Plans to discard this rich historical record naturally set off alarms among scholars of all sorts, from those studying gender and racial disparities, to those interested in business cycles. Researchers began to write about compelling projects that could only be completed using these bankruptcy records. Funds from this grant will support efforts by American University Professor Mary Hansen to work with the National Archive and Records Administration to create a research database from a statistically representative sample of these bankruptcy records, digitally preserving the data they contain for future use by scholars.

    To create a research database by sampling and digitally preserving personal bankruptcy records going back over a century

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  • grantee: Carnegie Mellon University
    amount: $435,689
    city: Pittsburgh, PA
    year: 2011

    To conduct and promote research on the credit rating industry and its regulation

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Chester Spatt

    In July 2010, Carnegie Mellon professor Chester Spatt hosted a Foundation-supported conference on the industrial organization of credit ratings agencies - the industry responsible for evaluating the creditworthiness of financial instruments and products. The 80 conference participants composed a diverse crop of researchers, including economists, industry practitioners, government officials, and international experts. In addition to presentations on a number of important topics, including litigation risk, competition among rating firms, and regulatory challenges associated with securitization, the conference hosted a session on next steps, where attendees voiced enthusiasm for forming a research network, continuing annual conferences, compiling shared data, and increasing interaction with policymakers. Funds from this grant will support a project by Professor Spatt to develop just such an ongoing research network. Additional funds provide continued support for Professor Spatt's own work on developing sophisticated game theoretic models of the credit rating process, with an emphasis on potential biases introduced into the ratings process by the way firms purchase ratings sequentially and then decide which ratings to publish.

    To conduct and promote research on the credit rating industry and its regulation

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  • grantee: Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
    amount: $349,622
    city: Kalamazoo, MI
    year: 2011

    To study ways of improving economic measurements, statistics, and indicators related to globalization

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Susan Houseman

    This grant to Susan Houseman of the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research supports ongoing efforts to study ways to improve the quality of federal statistics related to the effects of globalization and international trade flows on the U.S. economy and work with officials at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of economic analysis to develop practical strategies to correct biases or methodological flaws in current data collection practices. Funds from this grant will support the commissioning of several papers on federal data collection methodologies; an academic conference to be attended by economists, researchers, policymakers, and federal officials; a published volume of papers; and the development of concrete plans for improving how we understand and measure the effects of globalization on the U.S. economy.

    To study ways of improving economic measurements, statistics, and indicators related to globalization

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  • grantee: New York University
    amount: $311,556
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2011

    To rank global financial firms according to the systemic risk they pose for the world economy

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

    Among the provisions contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a requirement that regulators figure out which institutions contribute the most to systemic risk so that these companies can be supervised more closely. Making such a determination requires the creation of a sophisticated, empirically-tested, theoretically-informed model of how firm qualities contribute to systemic risk. Funds from this grant support the ongoing efforts of NYU Stern School Business Professor and Nobel Laureate Rob Engle to develop such a model, allowing a comprehensive ranking of firms that pose the most danger to the global economy. Engle's work subjects firms to a form of stress test, modeling how easily firms could meet regulatory requirements in the event of a sudden drop in asset prices similar to the one that roiled markets in the fall of 2008. Grant funds will allow for the refinement of Professor Engle's model, and for expansion of his rankings to include not just U.S. firms, but international firms as well.

    To rank global financial firms according to the systemic risk they pose for the world economy

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  • grantee: Columbia University
    amount: $124,948
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2011

    To conduct behavioral research on decision-making by consumers that informs the design of health insurance exchanges

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Eric Johnson

    To conduct behavioral research on decision-making by consumers that informs the design of health insurance exchanges

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  • grantee: New Venture Fund
    amount: $124,781
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2011

    To study financial institutions' use of obfuscation in marketing credit cards to consumers

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Rachael Raab

    To study financial institutions' use of obfuscation in marketing credit cards to consumers

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  • grantee: The Brookings Institution
    amount: $19,616
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2011

    To hold a meeting to assess the current state of research in industrial organization and to explore ways to make the field more engaged with live empirical and policy issues

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Clifford Winston

    To hold a meeting to assess the current state of research in industrial organization and to explore ways to make the field more engaged with live empirical and policy issues

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  • grantee: Clean Air Task Force
    amount: $248,832
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2011

    To organize the formulation of a study group, a research framework, and a request-for-proposals to investigate the energy efficiency paradox

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Steven Brick

    Economists have been talking about the "Energy Efficiency Paradox" for nearly twenty years. The puzzle is why so few people take simple steps-such as replacing inefficient light bulbs or fixing home insulation-that engineers and other experts assure us would save energy, save money, and perhaps even help save the planet. Funds from this grant will support a project by Stephen Brick, Armond Cohen, and Joseph Chaisson of the Clean Air Task Force to start a process for studying the Energy Efficiency Paradox systematically, comprehensively, theoretically, empirically, and impartially. Their first step will be to survey what is known, unknown, and unknowable about the energy efficiency paradox. This will be accomplished in cooperation with a group of experts they will convene, including not just economists but also other social scientists, policymakers, marketers, and industry experts. Based on the survey findings, the main task for that group will be to develop and publish an overall conceptual framework for organizing research on energy efficiency. The focus will be on end-user efficiency decisions concerning residential and commercial buildings and will include considerations about costs and benefits, engineering and behavior, trends and uncertainties, finance and discounting, technology and regulation, etc. The expert group's output will also include a draft "Request for Proposals." This document, when circulated together with the framing paper, would ask appropriate research institutions to formulate plans and projects that the Sloan Foundation and others might consider for future funding to help resolve the fundamental questions this project will identify about energy efficiency and its supposed paradoxes.

    To organize the formulation of a study group, a research framework, and a request-for-proposals to investigate the energy efficiency paradox

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  • grantee: University of California, Berkeley
    amount: $270,250
    city: Berkeley, CA
    year: 2011

    To collect and analyze experimental data for powerful statistical tests of how weatherization affects household energy efficiency

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Catherine Wolfram

    In the United States, buildings account for about 39% of all energy use, 68% of all electricity consumption, and 38% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Engineers estimate that retrofits for weatherizing built environments can substantially reduce waste enough to quickly pay for themselves, while also helping to decrease energy consumption and curb carbon emissions. But given the chance to save money and energy this way, the conventional wisdom is that many individuals and businesses do not take full advantage of energy efficiency investments that can save them money in the long run. The Sloan Foundation has begun funding work on this important issue by different kinds of researchers, ranging from behavioral economists to environmental engineers. Sloan funds have also helped launch the first large-scale randomized experiment to study weatherization programs. Based at the University of California, Berkeley, this pilot project has already discovered unexpected evidence that low-income homeowners are even less willing to take advantage of weatherization programs than previously thought. Moreover, such reluctance remains strong even among homeowners randomly chosen to receive encouragement and help with the process of weatherization. One implication of this finding is that the pilot study as originally planned will not have enough "statistical power" to justify robust policy conclusions. In order to refine the statistical validity of the findings, a larger sample of households is needed. Funds from this grant will support efforts by the University of California, Berkeley team to strengthen their experimental design and expand the number of households surveyed, allowing for more robust statistical conclusions that have the potential to appropriately shape policy discussions about energy utilization.

    To collect and analyze experimental data for powerful statistical tests of how weatherization affects household energy efficiency

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  • grantee: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    amount: $392,955
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2011

    To advance understanding of household financial behavior and policy

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Brigitte Madrian

    The study of markets for mortgages, credit cards, annuities, and other consumer financial products was neither organized nor widely recognized as an academic research field of its own before the subprime mortgage crisis began in 2007. Since then, the Sloan Foundation has staked out a coherent role in helping establish such a field by funding research on topics that range from retirement planning to energy efficient home improvement investments. Funds from this grant will provide continued support to one of the main components of Sloan's strategy for advancing the study of consumer financial product : The Household Finance Working Group (Working Group) based at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Launched in December 2009, the Household Finance Working Group organizes workshops, hosts conferences, and commissions research on the economics of household finance. Activities funded through this grant include two conferences, one to be held in Washington to provide policy perspectives, and another to be held jointly with the Sloan/Russell Sage Working Group on Behavioral Economics and Consumer Financial Markets. Also supported are attempts to build up the field of household finance by expanding support for research projects conducted by graduate students and young faculty.

    To advance understanding of household financial behavior and policy

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