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RSF Bulletin

New Book: Status: Why Is It Everywhere? Why Does It Matter?

Status is ubiquitous in modern life, yet our understanding of its role as a driver of inequality is limited. In Status, sociologist and social psychologist Cecilia Ridgeway examines how this ancient and universal form of inequality influences today’s ostensibly meritocratic institutions and why it matters. Ridgeway illuminates how status affects human interactions as we work together in classroom discussions, family decisions, or workplace deliberations.

Distinct from power or wealth, status is prized because it provides affirmation from others and affords access to valuable resources. Ridgeway demonstrates how the conferral of status contributes to differing life outcomes for individuals, with impacts on pay, wealth creation, and health and wellbeing. Status beliefs are widely held views that confer advantages which can exacerbate social inequality. She notes that status advantages based on race, gender, and class—such as the belief that white men are more competent than others—are the most likely to increase inequality by facilitating greater social and economic opportunities.

Ridgeway argues that status beliefs enhance higher status groups’ ability to maintain their advantages in resources and access to positions of power and make lower status groups less likely to challenge the status quo. Many lower status people accept their lower status when given a baseline level of dignity and respect—being seen, for example, as poor but hardworking. She also shows that people remain willfully blind to status beliefs because recognizing them can lead to emotional discomfort. Acknowledging the insidious role of status in our lives would require higher-status individuals to accept that they may not have succeeded based on their own merit; many lower-status individuals would have to acknowledge that they may have experienced discrimination.

Ridgeway shows how status beliefs can be subverted—as when we reject the idea that all racial and gender traits are fixed at birth and refute the idea that women and people of color are less competent than their male and white counterparts. This important new book demonstrates the pervasive influence of status on social inequality and suggests ways to reduce its detrimental effects.

Read more or purchase a copy of the book.


Three New Trustees Join RSF Board

RSF is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members of its board of trustees. Marianne Bertrand is the Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a member of the foundation’s Behavioral Economics Roundtable. Hazel Rose Markus is Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and has been a Margaret Olivia Sage Scholar at the foundation. Jennifer Richeson is the Philip R. Allen Professor of Psychology at Yale University.

Read more about RSF’s newest trustees here.


RSF Announces Trustee and Presidential Authority Grants

At the foundation’s November 2019 meeting of the board of trustees, several new research projects were approved in its programs on Future of Work and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality and its special initiatives on Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context and Immigration and Immigrant Integration.

RSF also made Presidential Authority grants in the Behavioral Economics, Future of Work and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality programs and special initiatives on Immigration and Immigrant Integration and Non-Standard Work.

Read more about new Trustee grants here.

Read more about new Presidential Authority grants here.


Upcoming Application Deadlines for 2020 Summer Institutes

In Summer 2020, RSF will sponsor several intensive one or two-week summer institutes on various topics for doctoral students and early career scholars. Applications for the Migration Research Methods Summer Institute will be due February 10, 2020. Applications for the Behavioral Economics, Computational Social Science, and Proposal Development Summer Institutes will be due February 25, 2020.


Targeted Grants Competition: Improving Education and Reducing Inequality in the United States

RSF and the William T. Grant Foundation have announced the third round of their targeted small grants competition for early career scholars. We seek research projects on “Improving Education and Reducing Inequality” that will deepen our understanding of educational opportunity and success by analyzing data on academic achievement from the Stanford Education Data Archive (developed by Sean Reardon and colleagues).

Applications will be accepted through February 4, 2020, at 2pm Eastern time. Decisions will be announced in early April 2020.

Read more about eligibility and program guidelines here.


Small Grants Competition in Computational Social Science

RSF is now accepting applications for its small grants competition in Computational Social Science. This initiative supports innovative social science research that utilizes new data and methods to advance our understanding of the research issues that comprise the foundation’s core programs. Limited consideration will be given to research that focuses primarily on methodologies, such as causal inference and innovations in data collection. We are primarily interested in research that explores and improves our understanding of social, psychological, political and economic outcomes.

The next application deadline for small grants in Computational Social Science is March 17, 2020.

Click here for more information on the CSS small grants competition.


How to Apply for Funding at RSF

For more information on RSF’s grant making process, please visit our website or review our grant writing guidelines. You may also view a 5-minute video on how to use our new grants management system.


Call for Articles: RSF Journal on Low-Income Families in the Twenty-first Century

RSF has released a call for articles for an upcoming issue of its journal, Low-Income Families in the 21st Century: Effective Public Policy Responses to Complexity and Change. Co-edited by Marcy Carlson (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Christopher Wimer (Columbia University), and Ron Haskins (Brookings Institution), this issue will focus on how government interventions have failed to keep pace with the needs of contemporary low-income families, with a special focus on the changing nature of employment and family formation. Abstracts and supporting materials are due by January 7, 2020, at 5pm Eastern time.

Click here to access the call for proposals.


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