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RSF Bulletin

New Book: Golden Years? Social Inequality in Later Life

Thanks to advances in technology and medicine, increased Social Security benefits, and access to Medicare, old age for many Americans is characterized by comfortable retirement, good health, and fulfilling relationships. However, millions of people over 65 struggle with poverty, chronic illness, unsafe housing, social isolation, or mistreatment by their caretakers. What accounts for these disparities among older adults? Sociologist Deborah Carr’s new book, Golden Years? Social Inequality in Later Life draws insights from multiple disciplines and analyzes the complex ways that socioeconomic status, race, and gender shape nearly every aspect of older adults’ lives. Golden Years? reveals that disadvantages accumulate across the life course and diminish well-being of an often-invisible group of vulnerable elders.

Carr shows that on many indicators of health, such as propensity for heart disease or cancer, black seniors fare worse than whites due to greater exposure to stressors such as economic hardships and racial discrimination and diminished access to health care. In terms of mental health, she finds that older women are at higher risk of depression and anxiety than men, yet older men have a higher risk of suicide, a result of complex factors including masculinity expectations placed on this generation. Social inequalities also affect the process of dying itself, with white and affluent seniors in a better position to convey their end-of-life preferences and use hospice or palliative care than their disadvantaged peers. Because rising economic inequality may contribute to even greater disparities between the haves and the have-nots in future cohorts of older adults, Golden Years? demonstrates the importance of increased awareness, strong public initiatives, and creative community- based programs in ensuring that all Americans have an opportunity to age well.

Read more or purchase a copy of the book.

Spring 2019 Book Catalog

RSF's Spring 2019 book catalog is now available. The new list includes Wrecked (June), an investigation of how American automakers’ attempts to weaken unions contributed to the decline of the auto industry; Credit Where It’s Due (April), a study of the causes and consequences of credit invisibility and other forms of financial inequality; Immigration and the Remaking of Black America (May), an analysis of migration patterns and socioeconomic disparities among black Americans; and the third edition of the Handbook of Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis (June).

Two new issues of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences will also be released this spring and include “Criminal Justice Contact and Inequality,” which explores the reach of the criminal justice system beyond prison and its consequences for low-income and minority groups; and “Using Administrative Data for Science and Policy,” which demonstrates how linking different sources of administrative data can improve the reach and efficiency of public policies.

View the full Spring 2019 list here.

RSF Accepting Visiting Scholar Applications for 2020-2021 Academic Year

The foundation invites visiting scholar applications for the 2020-2021 academic year. The visiting scholar program, established over thirty years ago, is a unique opportunity for social scientists to pursue research projects that investigate essential questions on social, economic, and political life in the United States while in residence at RSF. The program fosters the exchange of ideas in a vibrant interdisciplinary environment and promotes collaborations between researchers. Applications are reviewed by outside experts; final selections are made by RSF trustees. Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year will be accepted until June 28, 2018.

View further information on the program, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines.

Opportunities for Journalists at RSF

From July 17–19, 2019, RSF will host the Social Science Summer Institute for Journalists, a three-day workshop that teaches participants how to locate the best available social science research on their topics quickly, how to identify and interact fruitfully with leading social science experts, and how to read academic publications for their journalistic relevance. The deadline for applications to the summer institute is April 1, 2019.
View more information or submit an application.

RSF is also accepting applications for visiting journalists for the periods between September–November 2019 or April–June 2020. Visiting journalists must be in residence at the foundation where they will interact with visiting scholars regarding the development of their projects. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2019.
View more information or submit an application.

Funding Opportunities in RSF Programs and Special Initiatives

RSF offers small grants to doctoral students at the dissertation stage and recent Ph.D. recipients to support innovative, high-quality research and to encourage young investigators to enter these developing interdisciplinary fields. The foundation is currently accepting applications for small grants in Behavioral Economics (BE) and Computational Social Science (CSS). The deadline for CSS small grant applications is March 15, 2019. BE small grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
View more information or submit and application.

RSF is also accepting letters of inquiry until May 23, 2019 for the following programs and special initiatives: Behavioral Economics; Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context; Immigration and Immigrant Integration; and the final round for the Social, Economic, and Political Effects of the Affordable Care Act.
View all funding deadlines and application guidelines.

RSF Research in Congress and on the Presidential Campaign Trail

Members of Congress and several 2020 presidential candidates have recently unveiled plans to reduce economic inequality, the racial wealth gap, child poverty, and other issues that draw from research supported by the Russell Sage Foundation.

  • Grantees Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (University of California, Berkeley) have advised Senator Elizabeth Warren on a proposal to levy a 2% tax on wealth for individuals holding assets of more than $50 million and a 3% tax on wealth over $1 billion.
  • Former visiting scholar Sandy Darity (Duke University) and grantee Darrick Hamilton (New School) have advised Senator Corey Booker’s recent proposal for a “baby bonds” program.
  • The American Family Act, sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet and Sherrod Brown, draws from research by a team of child poverty experts including RSF trustees Kathryn Edin (Johns Hopkins University) and Hirokazu Yoshikawa (New York University), and grantees and authors Luke Shaefer (University of Michigan), Jane Waldfogel, Christopher Wimer and Irwin Garfinkel (Columbia University), Timothy Smeeding (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Greg Duncan (Stanford University), and David Harris (Children's Research and Education Institute).

Read more on the RSF website.

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