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: University College London
    amount: $20,000
    city: London, United Kingdom
    year: 2016

    To support Microeconomic Insights, an online source for accessible summaries of high quality microeconomic research

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Richard Blundell

    To support Microeconomic Insights, an online source for accessible summaries of high quality microeconomic research

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  • grantee: Third Way Foundation
    amount: $93,500
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2016

    To develop, test, and calibrate models of how administrative data from online platforms relate to official employment statistics

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Michael Mandel

    To develop, test, and calibrate models of how administrative data from online platforms relate to official employment statistics

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  • grantee: University of California, Berkeley
    amount: $95,158
    city: Berkeley, CA
    year: 2016

    To develop, document, and freely distribute linked administrative data derived from federal tax and educational records

    • Program Economics
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Emmanuel Saez

    To develop, document, and freely distribute linked administrative data derived from federal tax and educational records

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  • grantee: Harvard University
    amount: $326,688
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2016

    To develop behaviorally informed versions of basic macroeconomic models

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Behavioral and Regulatory Effects on Decision-making (BRED)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Xavier Gabaix

    This grant funds the work of theoretical macroeconomist Xavier Gabaix, who is endeavoring to explain puzzling macroeconomic phenomena by importing into macroeconomic models insights gleaned from behavioral psychology. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom among macroeconomists, Gabaix’s work assumes human beings have limited attentional resources and must make choices about what to pay attention to and what to ignore. When attention is scarce, Gabaix argues, the pressing concerns of today crowd out consideration of distant tomorrows. This much microeconomists have known for some time. Gabaix’s contribution has been to show how this scarcity of attention and the consequent focus on the now can, in the aggregate, have predictable macroeconomic effects. Indeed, in early work Gabaix has used these assumptions to predict certain stubborn macroeconomic facts—like the absence of inflation in the U.S. despite years of low interest rates—that have vexed more traditional economic models. Funds from this grant provide three years of support to Gabaix to expand and continue this work. Supported activities include the testing and calibrating of Gabaix’s models against real-world data and the writing of a textbook that uses his framework to explain standard, well-understood macroeconomic phenomena.

    To develop behaviorally informed versions of basic macroeconomic models

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  • grantee: Urban Institute
    amount: $263,000
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2016

    To develop, document, and make freely available both linked mortgage datasets, as well as new tools for analyzing large collections of administrative data

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

    This grant funds a project led by Alanna McCargo and Laurie Goodman at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center, to create a relational research database that links mortgage data made available through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act with geographic and other data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The resulting dataset promises to provide economists and other researchers with a powerful new resource for investigating questions related to loan markets, geographic variations in housing prices, and consumer demand for credit. The Urban Institute team will design and implement a distributed, cloud-based architecture to house the database, and provide online computational access to the data through the Institute’s Spark Social Science computational platform. The team will also create and disseminate public guidelines and best practices for solving common problems with distributed, cloud-based data storage and the analysis of massive datasets.     In addition to the value of the dataset itself to researchers, the project will bolster the Urban Institute’s institutional expertise in addressing legal, security, privacy, and data acquisition and management issues related to large administrative datasets.

    To develop, document, and make freely available both linked mortgage datasets, as well as new tools for analyzing large collections of administrative data

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  • grantee: National Academy of Sciences
    amount: $301,470
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2016

    To conduct an independent management study of processes, portfolios, and programs at the National Academy of Sciences

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

    The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was chartered by Abraham Lincoln “to give advice to the nation.” And, man, does it ever. Commissioned studies released during the first few days of September 2016 alone, for example, cover everything from clean electric power options to molybdenum-99 production, from eye health to eldercare. Funders and clients alike know the Academy’s work to be prestigious, authoritative, and impartial, but slow, inefficient, and expensive. Internal studies of NAS operations conducted sporadically over the years have resulted in only modest modifications. Now the incoming president, Marcia McNutt, wants to do more than that. A former editor of Science magazine and the first woman ever elected to lead the Academies, she is committed to comprehensive reform of how the NAS functions. Her first step is commissioning an outside management study by a distinguished but independent panel. The National Academy of Public Administration has agreed to carry out the project. Funds from this grant provide partial support for this independent management study.

    To conduct an independent management study of processes, portfolios, and programs at the National Academy of Sciences

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  • grantee: Stanford University
    amount: $1,807,297
    city: Stanford, CA
    year: 2016

    To develop services that model how access to administrative data can facilitate reliable, reproducible, and groundbreaking research in economics

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

    Empirical economists tell tales of woe about the difficulties of accessing, processing, linking, and analyzing administrative data. Many have tried to address such impediments independently in the course of this or that research project. A piecemeal approach, however, is less effective than what might be accomplished by working together. This grant supports a project by a team of empirical economists and technologists at Stanford University to build and staff a new Stanford Data Core that will reduce social scientists’ struggles, and enhance their triumphs, with administrative data. Led by principal investigator Mark Cullen, the team has already gained access to over 230 administrative datasets, more than 100 server racks, and petabytes of data storage. The team will begin by harmonizing, documenting, cleaning, and adding to these datasets and then moving computations on them to the cloud in collaboration with Google. After the data have been pulled together, the team will test this new computational environment through the launch of four pilot research projects covering topics in economics from economic opportunity to contract labor markets. Though interesting in themselves, the projects will primarily serve as useful test cases to measure the functioning of the new computational environment. Finally, the project team is particularly keen on finding, sharing, and standardizing solutions to the legal challenges that encumber research on administrative data. Working with university lawyers at Stanford, the team will model what routine nondisclosure and data use agreements can and should look like. They will then promote this resource and these contracts to the wider scientific community.

    To develop services that model how access to administrative data can facilitate reliable, reproducible, and groundbreaking research in economics

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  • grantee: University of Maryland, College Park
    amount: $1,693,316
    city: College Park, MD
    year: 2016

    To demonstrate how to estimate standard economic indicators using administrative data about business transactions

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

    The importance of macroeconomic statistics compiled by the government, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI), is difficult to overstate. The data used to calculate these statistics are collected through surveys fielded by a host of differing government agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Census Bureau. These surveys have significant and well-known methodological limitations leading to inaccuracies, substantial lag times, sampling distortions, and the need for (often significant) revisions. The worrying methodological basis of many economic statistics stands at odds with the increasingly high-quality data available about the economy. Vast improvements in the ability of retailers, for instance, to electronically track transactions provide a wealth of data for price and quantity measurement that is several orders of magnitude richer than currently captured in government surveys. This grant funds a pilot project by a team led by John Haltiwanger at the University of Maryland, College Park, to develop new, more accurate, and more timely methods to calculate portions of GDP and CPI using administrative data collected by retail firms. Partnering with several large retailers, the team will compile a large set of administrative data bearing on retail prices and quantities produced and sold, document how these data can be acquired and harvested, use the data to calculate portions of CPI and GDP, and then issue a report comparing and contrasting these calculations along several dimensions with current methodologies. Though it is too much to hope that such a project will, by itself, change the way government economic statistics are calculated, this project is an important proof of concept demonstrating one potential path to what all agree is badly needed reform.

    To demonstrate how to estimate standard economic indicators using administrative data about business transactions

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  • grantee: Georgetown University
    amount: $499,940
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2016

    To build community and consensus among Administrative Data Research Facilities by serving as a network hub and convener

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

    This grant funds a dozen conferences to be held over two years that are designed as community-building exercises for a new Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN). The ADRN is a linked network of Administrative Data Research Facilities, research centers devoted to facilitating the use of administrative data by researchers by lowering transaction costs and increasing the reproducibility of research conducted on administrative data. Conference topics will focus on common difficulties encountered when working with administrative datasets, including securing data access, privacy and anonymity, data ethics, documenting and versioning data, data use agreements, and archiving. Conference outreach will target not only researchers, but key officials in government and industry who have access to administrative data. If successful, these conferences will serve as important gatherings to build consensus around standards, priorities, and best practices in the growing community of researchers working with administrative data.

    To build community and consensus among Administrative Data Research Facilities by serving as a network hub and convener

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  • grantee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    amount: $2,998,325
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2016

    To continue core support for a research network that promotes the rigorous empirical study of economic issues in North America

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

    Though considered by most economists to be the gold standard method for testing hypotheses, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are nonetheless difficult to design, implement, or interpret in the field. That is why the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) was founded at MIT in 2003. J-PAL has been a staunch champion of RCT methods, providing funds and expert guidance in the design and implementation of RCTs. Initially focused on developmental economics, the J-PAL network expanded its focus to the U.S. with the 2013 launch of J-PAL North America. The goal of this new network is to promote rigorous study of economic issues in the United States and its neighbors, both by catalyzing high-quality research directly and by strengthening the capacity of institutions and individuals to conduct and understand such work. This grant provides three years of core operating support for J-PAL North America’s activities. Supported activities include salary support for core J-PAL staff, publication costs, training expenses, and development of workshops and toolkits for researchers wishing to field RCTs in North America.

    To continue core support for a research network that promotes the rigorous empirical study of economic issues in North America

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