The Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) is inviting applications for Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context program.
The Russell Sage Foundation’s (RSF) core program on Behavioral Science and Decision Making in Context merges its long-standing program on Behavioral Economics and its special initiative on Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context.
This program encourages perspectives from multiple disciplines, including economics, psychology, political science, sociology, law, public policy, and other social sciences, to further their 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.
RSF priorities do not include analyzes of health or mental health outcomes or health behaviors as these are priorities for other funders. For the same reason, RSF seldom supports studies focused on educational processes or curricular issues but does prioritize analyzes of inequities in educational entertainment or student performance. Limited consideration will be given to projects that test well-established behavioral effects without examining their context or underlying mechanisms. RSF does not fund studies using data from other countries unless they are part of a comparative project aimed at elucidating social and living conditions in the US
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 entertainment, among other issues. .
- 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 (eg, due to poverty or other forms of scarcity) shape behaviors, both consciously and subconsciously.
- 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 $200,000. Presidential Grants are capped at $50,000, but PIs may request up to $75,000 when the proposed research project has special needs for gathering data (eg, qualitative research) or gaining access to restricted-use data, or when the proposal budget includes salary support for multiple assistant professor PIs.
- 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 apply.
- RSF particularly encourages early career scholars to apply for Presidential grants or their Pipeline Competition. All nationalities are eligible to apply and applicants do not have to reside in the US, but the focus of the proposed research project must be on the US as per their mission.
For more information, visit https://www.russellsage.org/research/funding/behavioral-science-decision-making