Funded Research

Our funding interests are organized around the following four drivers of economic growth: macroeconomics and inequality, market structure, the labor market, and human capital and wellbeing. We consider proposals that investigate the consequences of economic inequality, as well as group dimensions of inequality; the causes of inequality to the extent that understanding these causal pathways will help us identify and understand key channels through which inequality may affect growth and stability; and the ways in which public policies affect the relationship between inequality and growth.

Explore the Grants We've Awarded

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Carbon Pricing and Innovation in a World of Political Constraints

Grant Year: 2020

Grant Amount: $15,000

Grant Type: academic

This project will convene economists, political scientists, energy scholars, and policy practitioners to synthesize collective expertise on the role of carbon pricing and innovation in climate policy. Participants will discuss how carbon pricing has been used around the world, its economic and political potential as a climate policy tool, and the importance of considering political economy in the design, implementation, and durability of climate policies.

COVID-19 and Paid Leave: Assessing the Impact of the FFCRA

Grant Year: 2020

Grant Amount: $20,000

Grant Type: doctoral

Using monthly Current Population Survey data, this study will examine leave-taking behavior during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Specifically, the authors will investigate whether and how leave-taking was influenced by the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The researchers will analyze the impact of FFCRA on several employment and leave-taking outcomes such as employment status, usual hours worked, and reasons for work absence (including child-care problems or one’s own illness). They will use these variables to measure leave-taking behavior, including total leave-taking and reasons for leave taking. These data allow them to explore how workers trade off the alternatives to leave-taking, including working while sick or separation from the labor force. Using a difference-in-difference empirical estimation strategy, the authors will compare leave taking in states that do or do not have state-based paid family and medical leave programs.

Access to Paid Leave during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from NYC

Grant Year: 2020

Grant Amount: $28,000

Grant Type: doctoral

This study will explore access, use, and outcomes associated with paid leave during the pandemic in New York City utilizing The New York City Longitudinal Study of Health and Wellbeing, also known as the Poverty Tracker. This survey follows representative samples of New York City residents, interviewing them every three months for up to four years and collecting a wealth of data on poverty, hardship (e.g. food insecurity), health and wellbeing, and specialized topics such as assets and debts. The research team will administer a post-COVID-19 survey with members of their second panel, for whom they have four years of pre-COVID-19 data, including information on employment and employer-provided paid sick leave. Interviewing this panel again will allow the researchers to gather important post-COVID-19 data on (1) use of employer-provided paid sick leave, (2) use of New York State paid family and medical leave and temporary disability insurance, and (3) use of the new federal emergency paid sick leave and paid family leave; as well as 4) post-COVID-19 data on poverty, hardship, and health and wellbeing.

Did Paid Sick Leave and Family Medical Leave Ameliorate the Health and Economic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Grant Year: 2020

Grant Amount: $34,500

Grant Type: doctoral

This study will examine whether state-mandated paid sick leave and state-mandated paid family and medical leave has helped control the early spread of COVID-19 and ameliorated the economic distress caused by the pandemic. In particular, the research team will explore whether people in states with guaranteed paid sick leave fared better in the pandemic and were better able to adopt social distancing measures compared to those in states without such a guarantee. State administrative data show that, early in the pandemic, there was a surge of initial claims in some states with their own paid leave systems—well before the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law. The research team will explore whether this surge in leave-taking is reflected in measures of social distancing or staying at home as captured by cell-phone location data, and whether that is reflected in the COVID-19 incidence data. Finally, the authors are also interested in whether there are differences across states with and without paid leave systems in reported measures of illness, leave-taking, and economic and psychological distress associated with the pandemic.

Racial and ethnic inequality in consumption smoothing

Grant Year: 2020

Grant Amount: $75,000

Grant Type: academic

Forty-two percent of Americans report that they do not have savings that could be used to cover unexpected expenses, a staggeringly high number. And there are stark racial differences, with 38 percent of White households and 55 percent of Black households saying they don’t have money to cover an emergency expense—one manifestation of the Black-White wealth divide. Yet there is surprisingly little research on how typical month-to-month fluctuations in income affect consumption and even less evidence on how this consumption smoothing varies with wealth. Given how central consumption dynamics are for macroeconomics, it’s important to understand the sensitivity of consumption to income and how that might vary by race and wealth. This project uses exciting new data to explore how income shocks may be passed through to consumption. By linking deidentified administrative bank data with self-reported race information from voter registration records, the authors will be able to identify the response of consumption by race with a large enough dataset (the analysis sample consists of 1.8 million matched bank-voter records) to identify racial differences credibly. Understanding how well households can smooth consumption, and how and why some groups—such as Black and Hispanic households who have lower-than-average wealth—may face greater challenges in doing so, is central for developing policy to address economic inequality and ensure vulnerable households achieve economic security.

The impacts of welfare cuts on well-being during the Great Recession: Evidence from linked U.S. administrative and survey data
  • Derek Wu University of Chicago
  • The impacts of welfare cuts on well-being during the Great Recession: Evidence from linked U.S. administrative and survey data

Grant Year: 2020

Grant Amount: $15,000

Grant Type: doctoral

This research project will examine the short- and long-run impacts of being suddenly removed from critical government programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The author will utilize the case of Indiana, which, in 2007, attempted to automate its welfare systems, resulting in a number of individuals being removed from essential welfare programs. The author will use linked administrative and survey data to first analyze the effects of the policy change on enrollment and demographics in the programs and then identify the short- and long-term impact of being removed from welfare on earnings, occupation, financial solvency, and health outcomes.

Funded research

Human Capital and Wellbeing

How does economic inequality affect the development of human capital, and to what extent do aggregate trends in human capital explain inequality dynamics?

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Funded research

Macroeconomics and Inequality

What are the implications of inequality on the long-term stability of our economy and its growth potential?

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Funded research

Market Structure

Are markets becoming less competitive and, if so, why, and what are the larger implications?

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Funded research

The Labor Market

How does the labor market affect equitable growth? How does inequality in turn affect the labor market?

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