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 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

    More
  • 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

    More
  • 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

    More
  • grantee: University of Michigan
    amount: $398,516
    city: Ann Arbor, MI
    year: 2016

    To facilitate data access by developing a broadly accepted system of researcher credentialing

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

    Suppose you, as a researcher, have succeeded in wrangling important and sensitive data from a government or corporate source, data that is valuable to the research community. Because your data are sensitive, however, you want to share only with appropriately trained and responsible scholars who can be trusted to treat the data ethically. Suppose now a request comes in from someone who wants to study the data. What do you do? Not every researcher is savvy about the technical, privacy, or legal compliance issues related to sensitive administrative data. You could investigate the individual and draft an agreement for them to sign. But starting from scratch to answer each new request, with all the associated inefficiencies, is time consuming and costly. Wouldn’t it be much better if you could begin instead by asking your data seeker for some standard researcher certification, a kind of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval that would indicate what kind of training and track record they have? This grant funds a project by Maggie Levenstein, executive director of the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), to design, test, implement, and promote just such a researcher credentialing system for use by her own and other institutions holding sensitive administrative data. The widespread adoption of such a system could significantly decrease the transaction costs associated with access to administrative data, increase the analysis of important though sensitive datasets, and promote responsible training and research protocols concerning preregistration, anonymization, reproducibility, and other research practices.

    To facilitate data access by developing a broadly accepted system of researcher credentialing

    More
  • grantee: University of Pennsylvania
    amount: $264,237
    city: Philadelphia, PA
    year: 2016

    To hire, house, and manage the initial coordinator for a network of administrative data research facilitators

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

    One goal of the Foundation’s grantmaking in economics is to lower barriers that impede obtaining and using naturally occurring datasets for sound and reproducible research. One strategy is to identify, strengthen, and, in some cases, create intermediaries who can manage the relationships between data generators and academic researchers. We refer to such an intermediary as an Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF). These facilities will, in turn, work more effectively if they can be linked together into a network that facilitates the sharing of standards, best practices, and data among ADRFs. Such networks, however, require a dedicated coordinator to ensure their proper functioning. This grant to the University of Pennsylvania provides two years of (partial) salary support for a network coordinator devoted to servicing the growing needs of the ADRF community. Although this network organizer will work with various ADRFs, he or she will be initially hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) project, headed by Dennis Culhane. AISP has emerged as a leader in developing practical procedures and protocols for conducting research that uses administrative data and is thus well positioned within the community to successfully host this important position.

    To hire, house, and manage the initial coordinator for a network of administrative data research facilitators

    More
  • grantee: Stanford University
    amount: $591,295
    city: Stanford, CA
    year: 2016

    To make research on macro-financial modeling more reproducible, collaborative, and comparative

    • Program Economics
    • Initiative Financial and Institutional Modeling in Macroeconomics (FIMM)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator John Taylor

    Better management of the economy requires better macroeconomic models that can be used to predict the consequences of this or that economic policy choice, proposal, or regime. Better economic models, in turn, require the ability to compare, contrast, and evaluate the predictions of various models across a variety of scenarios. How do professional economists, financial regulators, and central bankers compare one macroeconomic model to another? As it turns out, they don’t. Not only are there no widely accepted ways to compare models, there is little agreement about what criteria make one model better than another. Enter economist Volker Wieland, who is approaching this problem head-on. Collaborating with a wide network of economists in Europe and the U.S., Wieland has developed what he calls the Macro Model Database (MMD), a software platform that can upload, store, and run different macroeconomic models, allowing researchers to confront models with the same historical or synthetic scenarios and compare the predictions subsequently produced. Funds from this grant support a project to make the Macro Model Database fully open source, documenting and disseminating the underlying code to any expert interested in using it. By making it easier for researchers to upload and explore models, Wieland and his team (including Stanford economist John Taylor) plan to double the number of models available on its platform. Additional grant funds support the establishment of a research network based at the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London to further promote the MMD’s use within the research community.

    To make research on macro-financial modeling more reproducible, collaborative, and comparative

    More
  • grantee: American Educational Research Association
    amount: $5,000
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2016

    To support the American Educational Research Association’s Brown Lecture

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

    To support the American Educational Research Association’s Brown Lecture

    More
  • grantee: University of Pennsylvania
    amount: $15,000
    city: Philadelphia, PA
    year: 2016

    To support a conference on the use of administrative data in social science research

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

    To support a conference on the use of administrative data in social science research

    More
  • grantee: The University of Chicago
    amount: $493,818
    city: Chicago, IL
    year: 2016

    To facilitate workforce research by brokering, combining, documenting, and making available for study administrative data about labor markets from a variety of sources

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

    This grant supports a project by data scientist Matthew Gee and labor economist Iona Marinescu to create an administrative data research facility that will compile high-quality private administrative data on various aspects of the U.S. labor force. Gee and Marinescu’s Workforce Data Initiative will partner with private firms that have valuable administrative data on U.S. workers, including ADP, LinkedIn, Glass Door, O*Net, and CareerBuilder, combine these datasets with relevant publicly available data, and modify and “munge” these data into forms useable by researchers. The resulting datasets will constitute a valuable new resource for economists looking to answer pertinent questions on a host of important issues, including the post-2008 economic recovery, the resilience of local job markets, patterns in layoffs, and wage stickiness.

    To facilitate workforce research by brokering, combining, documenting, and making available for study administrative data about labor markets from a variety of sources

    More
  • grantee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    amount: $485,000
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2016

    To improve the credibility of empirical economics by turning best-practices for research transparency into common practice for research practitioners

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

    This grant supports an initiative by Esther Duflo at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) to infuse more rigorous methodology into empirical economics. Mobilizing J-PAL’s formidable research and training programs, Duflo will promote practices such as preregistration of experiment plans; prepublication re-analysis of results; and open sharing of datasets, code, and supporting documentation. Funded activities include a series of graduate fellowships for economics students who work on enhancing reproducibility and the development with MIT of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on best economics research practices.

    To improve the credibility of empirical economics by turning best-practices for research transparency into common practice for research practitioners

    More