Sloan Foundation Grant Program

"Economic Institutions, Behavior and Performance"


Economic Institutions, Behavior and Performance

This program supports research on the structure, behavior, and performance of the U.S. economy with the goal of providing objective and nonpartisan insights that can inform and strengthen critical decisions facing leaders, policymakers, and the public.

Grantmaking is divided into four thematic sub-programs.

Economic Implications of the Great Recession

Projects in this sub-program study markets and governments, specifically with regard to lessons we can draw from the recent financial crisis and Great Recession. Appropriate research topics include systemic stability; international regulatory coordination; risk measurement, capital requirements, and credit ratings; labor market recovery rates and liquidity; dataset and model development concerning labor trends 

Behavioral Economics and Household Finance

Projects in this sub-program study individuals and households, specifically with regard to the quality of their economic decision-making. Appropriate research topics include the annuity paradox; the energy efficiency paradox; insurance markets; risk-taking, savings, and personal bankruptcy; cognitive biases; public understanding of economics and markets for financial advice. 

Economic Analysis of Science and Technology

Projects in this sub-program study universities and groundbreaking industries, specifically regarding human capital development and applications of information technology. Appropriate research topics include labor markets for scientists and engineers; high-skilled immigration; patterns of scientific publication, collaboration, and intellectual property protection; the economics of digitization; and the international distribution of returns on high-tech investments.

Empirical Economic Research Enablers

Projects in this sub-program study economic researchers, specifically with regard to their needs, opportunities, incentives, and professional practices. Appropriate research topics include legal entity identifiers; data citation standards; identification and tracking systems for scholars; federal statistics; smart disclosure platforms for obfuscated markets; data and metadata management protocols; the replicability of empirical research; and the economics of knowledge contribution and distribution.


Successful grant applications to the Foundation's program in Economic Institutions, Behavior and Performance have several features in common. Typically, they are:

  • Empirical and hypothesis-driven.
  • Policy-relevant, but neither “policy research” nor advocacy.
  • Motivated by non-ideological questions rather than preconceived answers.
  • Engaged with fundamental puzzles but using fresh approaches.
  • Unbiased, statistically significant, and replicable.
  • Careful about baselines, controls, and econometrics.
  • Savvy about markets, institutions, transaction costs, regulatory arbitrage, etc.
  • Contributors to research infrastructure, datasets, or resources for general use.
  • Generators of highly-cited results in high-quality journals.
  • Ultimately concerned with the quality of life in the United States.

The Foundation encourages projects by multidisciplinary teams where appropriate.

Interested researchers with a relevant project idea should email a one page letter of inquiry to Daniel Goroff or Gail Pesyna.  When submitting a letter of inquiry to the program, please indicate which sub-program best fits your research project.  Before submitting a letter of inquiry, please review the Foundation's guidelines on what we do not fund.

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