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RSF Bulletin

Announcing RSF Visiting Scholar Class of 2019–2020

The Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of nineteen leading social scientists as visiting scholars for the 2019–2020 academic year. While in residence, they will pursue research and writing projects that reflect the foundation’s commitment to strengthening the social sciences and conducting research to “improve social and living conditions in the United States.”

To read about each scholar’s project, use the links below or visit the incoming scholars page on our website.


New Book: Administrative Burden

Bureaucracy, confusing paperwork, and complex regulations—or what public policy scholars Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan (Georgetown University) call administrative burdens—often introduce delay and frustration into our experiences with government agencies. Administrative burdens diminish the effectiveness of public programs and can even block individuals from fundamental rights like voting. In their book Administrative Burden: Policymaking by Other Means, Herd and Moynihan document that the burdens citizens regularly encounter in their interactions with the state are not unintended byproducts of governance, but the results of deliberate policy choices. Because burdens affect our perceptions of government and often perpetuate long-standing inequalities, understanding why administrative burdens exist and how they can be reduced is essential for maintaining a healthy public sector.

Through in-depth case studies of federal programs and controversial legislation, the authors show that administrative burdens are inherent in policy design. When they address controversial issues such as voter enfranchisement or abortion rights, lawmakers often use administrative burdens to limit access to rights or services they oppose. For instance, legislators have implemented complicated registration requirements and strict voter-identification laws to suppress turnout of African American voters. However, policymakers sometimes reduce administrative burdens or shift them from citizens to the government. One example is Social Security, which has a take-up rate of nearly 100 percent because early program administrators were determined to minimize burdens on beneficiaries. As the authors conclude, if the public’s interaction with government was less onerous, policymakers and administrators could reduce inequality, boost civic engagement, and make government work better for all citizens.

Read more or purchase a copy of the book.


RSF Journal Request for Articles: Asian Americans: Diversity and Heterogeneity

RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is accepting article proposals for an upcoming issue, edited by Jennifer Lee (Columbia University) and Karthick Ramakrishnan (University of California, Riverside), that examines racial and ethnic identity, social attitudes, intergroup relations, political behavior, and civic engagement among the Asian American population using data from the National Asian American Survey (NAAS). Although Asian Americans are the fastest growing group in the country, “Asian” is a catch-all category that masks tremendous diversity, heterogeneity, and inequalities. RSF encourages papers that draw on intragroup comparisons of the ten Asian-origin groups included in the NAAS. The deadline for proposals is April 2, 2019.

Read more and submit a proposal.


New Funding Opportunity: Special Initiative on Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context

The Russell Sage Foundation has launched a special initiative on Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context that will support innovative research by scholars in psychology, political science, sociology, and other social science fields on decision making processes and human behavior in the contexts of work, race, ethnicity, immigration, and social, political and economic inequality in the U.S. This initiative complements RSF’s long-standing Behavioral Economics (BE) Program which continues to encourage the submission of proposals. The first LOI deadline will be May 23, 2019 at 2pm ET/11am PT.

Read more or submit an application.


Upcoming Deadlines for RSF’s 2019 Summer Institutes

RSF is supporting several summer institutes for doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and early-career scholars in 2019. These intensive, one-to-two-week institutes include:

Read more and view application guidelines and deadlines.


New Small Grants Program in Computational Social Science for Early Career Researchers

RSF has launched a small grants program in its special initiative on Computational Social Science, which seeks to take advantage of increased access to new data sources such as public and private administrative databases, and information from online transactions, social media interactions, and internet searches. The initiative supports innovative social science research by early career researchers that utilizes new data and methods to advance our understanding of the research issues that comprise the foundations core programs. RSF is primarily interested in research that explores and improves our understanding of social, psychological, political and economic outcomes. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2019, at 2pm ET/11 am PT.

Read more or submit an application.


Program Update: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

RSF has expanded the focus of its program on Social, Political and Economic Inequality (SPEI) to better reflect its interests in research on a broad range of inequalities and their consequences. Formerly the Social Inequality program, SPEI examines the factors that contribute to existing inequalities, the extent to which they affect social, political, and economic institutions and outcomes, and how they influence the lives of Americans. The next LOI deadline will be May 23, 2019, at 2pm ET/11am PT.

Read more about the updated program.


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