RESEARCH November 9, 2022

2023 Request for Proposals

OVERVIEW

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth seeks to deepen our understanding of how inequality affects economic growth and stability. To do so, we support research investigating the various channels through which economic inequality, in all its forms, may or may not impact economic growth and stability.

Equitable Growth promotes efforts to increase diversity in the economics profession and across the social sciences. We recognize the importance of diverse perspectives in broadening and deepening research on the topics in this request for proposals.

FUNDING PRIORITIES

Equitable Growth is interested in inequality in all of its forms and its relationship to growth. We also recognize that various forms of inequality interact with each other in ways that deserve more attention.

We support research inquiry using many different types of evidence, relying on a variety of methodological approaches and cutting across academic disciplines.

Preference is given to projects creating new data that can be made publicly available and to studies that engage with relevant literature across disciplines.

MACROECONOMICS AND INEQUALITY

How is inequality structurally reshaping the economy and the models research uses? What are the effects of the historic levels of inequality on economic growth and business cycles, and what policies could lead to more equitable, sustainable, and broadly shared growth? How can macroeconomic research more fully take into account the economic, social, and environmental benefits and costs of addressing the consequences and risks of climate change? Equitable Growth is particularly interested in how racial disparities and discrimination in the economy affect economic growth and well-being overall and the well-being of historically marginalized groups.

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

MONETARY POLICY

What are the distributional effects of monetary policy, both expansionary and contractionary? How does the financial market response to changes in monetary policy affect wealth inequality?

How do the costs of inflation vary across household characteristics, such as income or race? How do a household’s asset and debt positions affect its experience of inflation?  

INVESTMENT, GROWTH, AND SUPPLY-SIDE MACROECONOMICS

How can macroeconomic policy best support the supply-side of the economy to generate equitable growth? What role does government investment have in crowding-in or crowding-out private investment and growth in general and in areas such as the move toward a cleaner economy? What instrument choice or mechanism design best aligns the incentives of the private sector and the government in these public investments? Why may large, private firms be hesitant to make long-term investments even when they have ample cash and financing available?

FISCAL POLICY

What are the distributional effects of fiscal policy, and do they differ across different demographic groups? Did the more aggressive fiscal policy response during the recent recession limit scarring and mitigate the severity of the recession, compared to previous recessions? What are the implications of increased income and wealth inequality for public policy, and how do public policies affect these relationships? Would more automatic stabilizers improve the toolkit of policies to fight recessions?

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS IN GOVERNMENT PROCESSES

How can inequality and growth be reflected in a nuanced way in government economic indicators or government economic analyses, such as legislative scoring or regulatory cost benefit analysis? How can economic analysis or key economic indicators better take into account long-term threats to growth, such as climate change, or the potential returns of long-term investments, such as investments in children? How can they better model distributional impacts and racial disparities?

HUMAN CAPITAL AND WELL-BEING

How does economic inequality, particularly wealth inequality, affect the development of human capital, and what are the impacts on the health and stability of the macroeconomy? To what extent can the institutions that support the development of human capital mitigate inequality’s potential effects and enhance well-being and current and future economic productivity? Through what channels do these effects occur?

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

INVESTMENTS IN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

What short-term indicators, other than education and health indicators, are impacted by investments in children and families that lead to long-term economic gains for children? Are there important complementarities in these investments in children and families that might limit the effectiveness of one investment if not accompanied by other investments, especially for those impacted by structural racism?

What are the short-, medium-, and long-term effects of child care and early education programs on children’s human capital development? How do they relate to long-term labor market outcomes, productivity, and economic growth, and what mechanisms underpin those human capital outcomes?

HUMAN CAPITAL DEPLOYMENT

What role do public policies—such as labor market regulations, work support policies, and income support policies—play in individual and family well-being, labor force participation, and consumption? What policies may be effective in combating discrimination and other structural impediments to the deployment of human capital?

How does the current U.S. child care market facilitate or impede labor force participation and economic growth? Where are the biggest inequities in the U.S. child care system, and how do those affect labor force participation and macroeconomic stability? How does the health and functioning of the U.S. child care sector impact the macroeconomy and business cycle, and vice versa?

INTRA- AND INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY

What policies, especially at scale, may be effective in making upward mobility more attainable and equitable? What structural factors and institutions, including structural racism, determine who has the opportunity to achieve upward mobility? What mechanisms explain the strong correlations we see in who achieves upward mobility? Which place-based programs or interventions are most effective in promoting economic mobility, and for whom? What policies are effective at strengthening household balance sheets, building wealth, improving economic stability, and shifting the trajectory of lifetime earnings, and what are the macroeconomic effects of such policies? How are climate change and other environmental factors affecting intergenerational mobility? While Equitable Growth is interested in both contemporary and historical approaches to these questions, we are particularly interested in research that will clarify indicators and critical interventions that will guide policymaking today.

THE LABOR MARKET

How does inequality affect the labor market? How does the labor market and workplace organization affect whether growth is broadly shared? What are the labor market impacts on intra- and intergenerational mobility, and have changes in employer-employee relationships and new types of work arrangements affected the opportunity for job advancement and mobility? How prevalent is discrimination in the labor market, and what are its effects? How is climate change affecting wages and job quality?

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

POWER IN LABOR MARKETS

What is the relative bargaining power of workers versus employers, what influences that balance, and how does it affect pay levels, job quality, and economic growth? Do structural barriers, including structural racism and gender discrimination, or social norms affect labor market dynamics? What role do public policies, unions, and other forms of workplace organization play in determining labor market power? What effect do new technologies and new types of work arrangements have on who has power and how that power is exerted?

TECHNOLOGY IN THE WORKPLACE

How is the use of technology affecting work and workers, including hiring, wages, working conditions, scheduling/schedule stability, job quality, on-the-job training, management, surveillance, and outsourcing? How are labor market institutions succeeding or failing in the face of new forms of workplace organization, including those enabled by the adoption of new technologies? How are different forms of automation, algorithmic management, and other technologies measured and defined, now and over time, and what are the implications for understanding their effects on workers, wages, and labor markets? Do those effects differ for different demographic groups or protected classes? Equitable Growth is interested in both contemporary and historical approaches to these questions.

RETURNS TO WORK

How are returns to work affected by inflation? What are the firm effects of policies intended to improve worker well-being? Where is monopsony power prevalent, what are its causes, what impacts employer ability to exercise monopsony power, and what policies are most effective at addressing it? What role do structural racism and gender discrimination play, and what policies may be effective in decreasing the racial and gender wage gaps? How does enforcement of existing labor laws affect outcomes for workers?

MARKET STRUCTURE

What is the role of market structure in determining economic growth and its distribution? What is the relationship between inequality, market power, and economic growth? How competitive are markets in the U.S. economy, and is that changing? What conduct is likely or unlikely to harm competition, and how? Equitable Growth is interested in research from an aggregate perspective, which has been common in the macroeconomic and labor literatures, as well as industry- or market-specific analysis that has been the focus of industrial organization literatures.

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

EXISTENCE AND CAUSES OF MARKET POWER

Is there increased market power in the economy, and if so, what are its causes? Areas of interest include studies of mergers, potential competition, and specific conduct. Is anticompetitive activity more common in some industries than others?

CONSEQUENCES OF MARKET POWER

What are the effects of market power on product markets, labor markets, and small business, including new business formation, firm growth, business investment, productivity, and inequality? Has increased market power made firms less resilient to shocks, such as supply-chain interruptions and severe weather? How have technological developments affected competition? How does market concentration affect the development or deployment of new technologies to mitigate climate change and support sustainable economic growth? Does market power disproportionately affect historically marginalized groups? How do racial and other inequalities affect competition?

EFFECTIVENESS OF POLICY TOOLS

Equitable Growth is particularly interested in empirical work that examines the effectiveness of policies to promote competition, including, but not limited to, the state of antitrust enforcement, regulatory approaches, new foundations for antitrust actions that do not necessarily rely on prices, and comparisons of the U.S. antitrust enforcement regime with other models. Equitable Growth also is interested in the differential effect of policies on different sized firms, particularly small business and minority-owned business, and the ways in which policies are shaping markets.

WHAT WE FUND

ACADEMIC GRANTS

Academic grants are open to researchers affiliated with a U.S. university. The affiliated university must administer the grant.

Academic grants are typically in the $25,000 to $100,000 range over 1 to 3 years. We frequently partner with other foundations to support projects jointly or to share proposals that are not a fit for our grant program, but which may be of interest to other funders.

Equitable Growth is willing to fund a wide range of activities, including researcher salary and benefits, research assistance, data purchase, and costs associated with conducting experiments or participating in professional conferences. Our grants cannot cover indirect overhead.

Visit the academic grants section of our website to learn more about academic grants, including eligibility, allowable costs, and evaluation criteria.

DOCTORAL/POSTDOCTORAL GRANTS

Doctoral/postdoctoral grants are open to graduate students currently enrolled in a doctoral program at a U.S. university and to recent Ph.D. graduates currently in a postdoctoral position at a U.S. university. If you are currently a graduate student or in a postdoctoral position, you may choose to apply for either an academic or doctoral/postdoctoral grant, depending on the pool in which you’d like to compete.

International students at U.S. universities are eligible to apply, though if awarded, the grant would likely need to be administered through the university. International students are advised to communicate their intention to apply with their institution to ensure adherence to institutional protocol if funded.

Doctoral/postdoctoral grants are funded at $15,000 over 1 year.

Funding can be used to cover the costs associated with conducting research, such as research assistance, data purchase, or participating in professional conferences. Funding can also be used as stipend support. Our grants cannot cover indirect overhead.

Visit the doctoral/postdoctoral grants section of our website to learn more about doctoral/postdoctoral grants, including eligibility, allowable costs, and evaluation criteria.

DISSERTATION SCHOLARS PROGRAM

Equitable Growth is building a network of scholars doing cutting-edge research on inequality and growth. The Dissertation Scholars program provides Ph.D. candidates with financial and professional support to pursue their own research and to gain familiarity with current policy discussions and the policy process. The program is currently operating virtually.

The position is open to graduate students who are currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a U.S. university and whose research aligns with Equitable Growth’s funding priorities. Dissertation Scholars are given an annualized $50,000 stipend and professional support, and are expected to support Equitable Growth’s grant program.

Scheduling is flexible to permit for travel to home institutions, as well as academic conferences. Tenure is for one academic year.

Applicants not selected for the Dissertation Scholar program will automatically be considered for a doctoral/postdoctoral grant.

Visit the Dissertation Scholars program section of our website to learn more about the program, including eligibility, the selection process, and evaluation criteria.

HOW TO APPLY

ACADEMIC GRANTS 

To apply for an academic grant, submit a letter of inquiry and abbreviated curriculum vitae (max. five pages) using the online application portal.

Letters of inquiry are short descriptions of a research project. They should be approximately two pages in length. Letters of inquiry that are more than 1,500 words will not be considered. The word limit is designed to encourage concision and clarity. 

Letters of inquiry must include: 

  • Problem or question your research seeks to address and how it relates to Equitable Growth’s funding priorities
  • Engagement with and expected contribution to the literature
  • Methodological approach, including data sources and research design
  • Status of data access
  • Timeline for completion

We encourage applicants to consider policy implications. Development of new data sources is also of interest.  

If tables, graphs, or other images are helpful in explaining your project, they can be included. While they will not count against the word limit, we encourage you to limit the use of images to one or two. Citations should be included in a references section and do not count against the word/page limit.

A preliminary budget is also required and should be submitted as a brief narrative (approximately 150 words). Budget narratives are submitted as part of the application form and do not have to be included in the letter of inquiry. At this stage, we are interested in the total expected cost of the project and a general breakdown of those costs (such as salary, research assistance, costs associated with data collection, travel, or conference fees). If applicable, please include a brief description of other secured or anticipated funding sources for the proposed work. A detailed project budget will be required for applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal. 

The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. EST on January 23, 2023.  

Visit the academic grants section of our website to learn more about academic grants, including eligibility, allowable costs, and evaluation criteria.  

DOCTORAL/POSTDOCTORAL GRANTS 

To apply for a doctoral/postdoctoral grant, submit a proposal and curriculum vitae using the online application portal.

Doctoral/postdoctoral proposals should be approximately six single-spaced pages with standard font and margins. Proposals longer than seven pages will not be considered. While we do not want to be overly prescriptive, the page limit is designed to encourage concision and clarity. 

Proposals should address the following: 

  • Problem or question your research seeks to address and how it relates to Equitable Growth’s funding priorities
  • Engagement with and expected contribution to the literature
  • Detailed methodological approach, including data sources and research design
  • Status of data access
  • Timeline for completion

Budget information is requested within the application form and should not be included in your six-page proposal. This section should briefly describe direct costs, such as data purchase or research assistance. If funding will be used for support only, simply state that. 

If tables, graphs, or other images are helpful in explaining your project, they can be included either in the body of the proposal or as an appendix. While they will not count against the page limit, we encourage you to limit the use of images to one or two. Citations should be included in a references section and do not count against the page limit.

Doctoral/postdoctoral applicants do not need to submit a letter of inquiry. Professional references are also not required.  

Doctoral/postdoctoral proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 20, 2023. 

Visit the doctoral/postdoctoral grants section of our website to learn more about doctoral/postdoctoral grants, including eligibility, allowable costs, and evaluation criteria.  

DISSERTATION SCHOLARS PROGRAM 

To apply to the Dissertation Scholars program, submit a proposal, statement of purpose, and curriculum vitae using the online application portal.

Application to the program also requires two academic letters of recommendation, preferably from your chair and an advisor. 

Letters of recommendation should be submitted through the online application portal. Prior to submitting your application, you will have the opportunity to request letters of recommendation through the online application portal. Letters must be submitted by the application deadline, so please reach out to your letter-writers well in advance of the deadline. 

The proposal should follow the requirements and guidelines for doctoral/postdoctoral proposals.  

The statement of purpose should be approximately two pages and should describe: 

  • Your motivating research questions 
  • The direction you anticipate your research agenda taking and how that relates to Equitable Growth’s mission 
  • How you hope to spend your time with Equitable Growth and how that will help further your career/research 

Applicants selected to move forward in the Dissertation Scholar review process will be asked to interview with Equitable Growth in April 2023. Interviews consist of a research presentation and about three small group interviews with select staff. They are typically conducted over one day. Presentations and interviews will be done virtually. Selection decisions will be announced in early May 2023. 

The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. EST on January 23, 2023.

Visit the Dissertation Scholars program section of our website to learn more about the program, including eligibility, the selection process, and evaluation criteria.

DEADLINES

Academic letters of inquiry are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on January 23, 2023.

If invited, full proposals will be due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 8, 2023. 

Dissertation Scholar applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on January 23, 2023. 

Doctoral/postdoctoral proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 20, 2023. 

Funding decisions will be announced by mid-July 2023. We anticipate that funds will be distributed in early fall 2023, though the timing of disbursement depends in part on the particulars of the project and the researcher’s home institution.

THE REVIEW PROCESS

Letters of inquiry and full proposals for academic grants are reviewed by staff, external peer reviewers, and members of Equitable Growth’s Steering Committee.  

Proposals for doctoral/postdoctoral grants and the Dissertation Scholars program are reviewed by our staff and members of our Steering Committee.  

All funding is approved by our Steering Committee.

For more information on evaluation criteria, visit the academic grants, doctoral/postdoctoral grants, or Dissertation Scholars program sections of our website.

FEEDBACK PRIOR TO SUBMISSION

Equitable Growth cannot provide feedback on a written proposal or Letter of Inquiry prior to the application deadline, but staff are available to meet with applicants to discuss questions they may have. Questions may include, but are not limited to, how to apply, budget guidelines, proposal structure, eligibility, and a project’s relevance to Equitable Growth’s mission and funding priorities.  

Equitable Growth is hosting informational webinars, which are opportunities to learn more about our funding priorities, how to apply, and tips for a successful application.  

The webinar for scholars interested in applying for an academic grant is on Thursday, December 8 from 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST. Register here.

The webinar for graduate students interested in applying for a doctoral/postdoctoral grant or the Dissertation Scholars program is on Thursday, December 8 from 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST. Register here.

Equitable Growth staff are also available to meet with interested applicants. Please complete this form if you would like to schedule a time with our staff regarding any questions you may have about submitting an application. You will receive an email from grants@equitablegrowth.org to schedule a 15–30 minute Zoom call with Equitable Growth staff best positioned to answer your question(s).

SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL

Submit your proposal by creating an account and completing the submission form using our online application portal.

If you have questions or are having trouble with the application portal, please email grants@equitablegrowth.org or call 202-276-3368.

Related

Connect with us!

Explore the Equitable Growth network of experts around the country and get answers to today's most pressing questions!

Get in Touch