The Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) has announced its core program on Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context.
This program encourages perspectives from multiple disciplines, including economics, psychology, political science, sociology, law, public policy, and other social sciences, to further our understanding of economic, social, political, and psychological decision-making processes, attitudes, behaviors, and institutional practices in public and private contexts such as policing/criminal legal systems, employment, housing, politics, racial/ethnic relations, and immigration.
Examples of the kinds of topics and questions that are of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Biases and Misperceptions
- An important contribution of behavioral science has been to analyze the extent to which biases (racial/ethnic, skin color, socioeconomic status, immigration status, political, etc.) affect attitudes and behaviors. RSF is interested in research examining the extent to which implicit and explicit biases and misperceptions affect attitudes and behaviors in employment, criminal, judicial, political, educational, and other settings, and the consequences of these actions.
- Institutions, Policies, Social Structures and Networks
- Institutional actors may hold implicit and explicit biases and misperceptions, which may be reflected and maintained through institutional policies and practices. In this way, systemic racism can be embedded through laws and regulations within society or an organization. It can contribute to discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, political power, and educational attainment, among other issues. Similarly, decisions are made not in isolation, but within social structures and within the context of social networks. Networks can influence how many decisions are made in the context of voting, job search, college enrollment, and other behaviors relevant to social and economic mobility, poverty, and inequality. RSF is interested in research examining the extent to which and how institutions, policies, social structures, and networks affect attitudes and behavior.
- Motivations, Incentives and Choice Architecture
- Individuals respond to incentives, and to a broad array of social, political, psychological, economic, and cultural motivations. Moreover, the ways in which options are presented to individuals (Choice Architecture) can impact their behavior. RSF is interested in research on the consequences of choice architecture and motivated behavior for social, economic, and political inequalities.
- Habits, Time Preferences, Mental Bandwidth and Behavior Change
- Many human behaviors are not openly motivated, in the sense that they are habitual, intuitive, taken-for-granted, or otherwise not reflective. Time preferences and burdens on mental bandwidth (e.g., due to poverty or other forms of scarcity) shape behaviors, both consciously and subconsciously. RSF is interested in research examining how consequential habits are formed and changed, and the extent to which habits, mental burdens and preferences affect social, economic, and political attitudes and behaviors.
- Affect and Emotions
- Emotions can shape attitudes and behaviors both consciously and subconsciously. RSF is interested in supporting research that examines the extent to which emotions influence social, economic, legal, and political attitudes and behaviors.
Trustee Grants are generally capped at $175,000, including 15% indirect costs, over a two-year period. Presidential Awards are capped at $35,000 (no indirect costs). PIs may request up to $50,000 (no indirect costs) when the proposed research project has special needs for gathering data (e.g.: qualitative research) or gaining access to restricted-use data.
- All applicants (both PIs and Co-PIs) must have a doctorate. In rare circumstances, RSF may consider applications from scholars who do not hold a doctorate but can demonstrate a strong career background that establishes their ability to conduct high-level, peer-reviewed scholarly research. Students may not be applicants.
- RSF particularly encourages early career scholars to apply for Presidential grants or the Pipeline Competition. For the November deadlines you can apply for either the pipeline grants or the regular research grants but not both. All nationalities are eligible to apply and applicants do not have to reside in the U.S., but the focus of the proposed research project must be on the U.S. as per the mission.
For more information, visit Russell Sage Foundation.