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Current Research Programs

The Russell Sage Foundation currently provides support to scholars at other institutions to pursue research projects that advance the Foundation’s objectives in four main research areas: Behavioral Economics, the Future of Work, Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration, and Social Inequality. In addition to the activities sponsored under our main programs, the Foundation also supports a range of special initiatives focused on other issues of current importance. For more detailed information on each of these programs, please choose your area of interest below.

The Foundation’s Behavioral Economics program supports research that incorporates the insights of psychology and other social sciences into the study of economic behavior. Launched jointly with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 1986, the program was instrumental in the development of this new interdisciplinary field. The Foundation supports the Behavioral Economics Roundtable, a consortium of leading researchers which provides a small grants program for exploratory research, a two-week summer workshop for younger scholars, research grants, and a book series for major works in behavioral economics.

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RSF Conference for Early-Career Behavioral Economists
Chicago, IL | July 8-9, 2015

On July 8-9, 2015, the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) will sponsor a Conference for Early-Career Behavioral Economists in Chicago.
The Russell Sage Foundation is the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences. Located in New York City, it is a research center, a funding source for studies by scholars at other academic and research institutions, and an active member of the nation's social science community. The Foundation was an early force in the development of behavioral economics, launching its Behavioral Economics program in 1986. In 1992, RSF established the Behavioral Economics Roundtable, which now includes 28 prominent behavioral economists, six of whom have received the Nobel Prize in Economics. For more information, please visit
The conference venue is generously provided by the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago. The Center, founded in 1977, has helped pioneer an effort to use science to explain inconsistencies between actual and theoretically rational human behavior.
The goal of this conference is to allow researchers at the early stages of their career to present their work and receive feedback from peers and junior faculty members, who will serve as discussants. It will also help develop a strong community of junior behavioral economists. Eligibility Any interested early-career behavioral economist can apply. This includes graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and Assistant Professors who received their Ph.D. after Spring 2010. We expect to select about 20 presenters.
There is no conference fee. Conference meals will be covered for all invited participants. In cases where financial assistance is not available from a researcher’s university, the Foundation will reimburse hotel and economy class travel expenses for presenters and discussants. The following travel caps for airfare and ground transportation are likely to apply: $1,000 from Europe and $350 from North America other than the Midwest. For presenters from the Midwest, the Foundation will cover hotel costs only. We will coordinate hotel reservations for participants whose expenses are being covered by the Foundation. Due to funding constraints, participants will be assigned to shared rooms (2 participants/room with 2 double beds).
How to Apply
Please submit an abstract of about 1,000 words of the proposed paper and an abbreviated CV (5 pages max.) by January 31, 2015 to If financial assistance is needed in order for you to participate, please provide details in a cover letter, including whether your university may provide funding to cover some of your expenses. The organizing committee will review all submissions under the supervision of Prof. Emir Kamenica and Prof. Devin Pope (University of Chicago). Selected participants will be notified by March 1, 2015. For information about the conference, contact or visit our website:
The Organizing Committee
Kai Barron, University College London
Teodora Boneva, University of Cambridge
Stephanie Heger, Washington University in St. Louis
Paolina Medina-Palma, Northwestern University
Silvia Saccardo, University of California San Diego

The Future of Work program examines the causes and consequences of the deteriorating quality of low-wage jobs in the United States. Projects sponsored by the program have examined a wide range of causal factors, from foreign outsourcing and immigration to the decline of unions and technological change, that may have depressed wages of low-education workers. Current research under this program includes a new investigation to re-assess how minimum wage increases affect employment and the broader labor market; a new study of the extent of offshoring of production by U.S. firms and its impact on the economy; and a project that examines the role of job search behaviors on the employment and wage outcomes of women and minorities in the post-recessionary U.S. labor market, among others.

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The Foundation’s newest program on Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration, replaces two previous programs: Immigration and Cultural Contact. Insights gained from these two long-standing programs inform the genesis of the new program on Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration. The new program encourages multi-disciplinary perspectives on questions stemming from the significant changes in the racial, ethnic, and immigrant-origin composition of the U.S. population. A primary goal is to find ways in which researchers from different social science traditions studying issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration may complement one another in productive and innovative ways. We continue to encourage multi-disciplinary perspectives and methods that both strengthen the data, theory, and methods of social science research and foster an understanding of how we might better achieve the American ideals of a pluralist society.

Since 2001, the Foundation’s Social Inequality program has examined the social and political consequences of rising economic inequality. The program has investigated a variety of areas of social life, from education and health care to intergenerational mobility, to determine whether the increasing financial gap between the rich and poor has also exacerbated social inequalities of the kind that amplify and entrench economic differences. Recently, the program has turned to in-depth examinations of two key institutions the United States relies on to counteract market-driven inequality: public education and the democratic electoral system.

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