The Institute for New Economic Thinking aims to foster open discourse and to advance new thinking on economic issues and theory. The Institute’s notion of new economic thinking is deliberately open and non-dogmatic. Our hope is to support research that transforms our understanding of major economic problems and improves analysis of policy.
In this grant round, in addition to our call for research, we seek to fund projects that promise to advance the way economics is taught in and out of formal courses in economics. Preference will be given to projects promising lasting improvements in course materials and pedagogy that could potentially be widely adopted, rather than seminars or courses offered on a one-off basis dependent on continued outside funding. These proposals will be segmented and considered separately from the other applications
In our sixth round of grants, we plan to fund proposals of up to $250,000. The deadline for the first stage of applications is October 20, 2014. For guidance on how to prepare an application for either type of grant, see our Grants FAQ. Note that efficient use of resources is a factor in the evaluation process.
We encourage applicants to examine critically the conceptual foundations of extant theoretical or empirical approaches to the problems that they propose to examine. Applications need to identify specific shortcomings in extant approaches and, more importantly, propose how these can be remedied in the proposed research.
We particularly welcome applications that promise to change the way economists determine what evidence is relevant; what questions can be asked with regard to this evidence; preconceptions and axioms that underlie both theories and the evidence observed; what empirical investigations should be conducted to seek answers to these questions; and how the results of these experiments and investigations should be interpreted. Applications need not rely only on formal economic analysis and econometrics. The Institute welcomes applications that seek to expand the domain of economics as a discipline, particularly contributions that put human wellbeing and flourishing at the center of the discipline. This may involve exploring the boundaries between economics and the other social and natural sciences, as well as the humanities. The Institute believes that economic history and the history of economic thought are of great value to understanding both theory and policy and welcomes applications that approach the past in this spirit. We encourage imaginative quantitative studies that use event analysis and other tools to integrate broader political and cultural developments with economics, but we are also open to narrative and archivally based research that draws on theoretical insights and empirical findings from the history of economic thought, economic and social history, psychology, political science, sociology, and anthropology.
The Institute seeks new insights into economics, rather than incremental advances in standard subject areas. The following list of topics is meant to be merely illustrative of areas where new thinking might arise:
- Formal models of economic behavior without stochastic optimization.
- Models of economic behavior under radical uncertainty.
- Implications of instability for policy design and governance.
- Capital account convertibility in developing countries.
- Implications for both macroeconomic and microeconomic policies and performance of income and wealth disparities. Empirical studies of the wage share and real wages that do not begin by making strong theoretical assumptions would be welcome, particularly those making use of as much historical evidence as possible, along with studies of how central bank behavior and labor productivity affect these issues, including the interplay of productivity and labor demand.
- Empirical assessments of claims about labor market skill levels and search behavior.
- Effects of monetary policy on the distributions of income and wealth.
- Distributional considerations in climate change policy.
- The theory of innovation, including the role of entrepreneurship in the innovation process, the importance of path dependence, QWERTY effects, the financing of innovation, and its institutional history, including the role of industries, firms, and informal and non-institutional investments.
- The political economy of innovation: the state as funder, customer, framer of IP regimes.
- Broader accounts of why people cooperate, including for example the causes and consequences of identity formation, trust, values and social norms.
- The interplay between economic, social and political sources of power and the distribution of income and wealth.
- Empirical assessments of claims about “secular stagnation” in economic history and now; complementarities and trade offs between financial restructuring and macroeconomic stimulus in recoveries from financial crises.
- How culture, politics and economics influence the human capacity to cooperate or compete.
- The role of the evolution of mind and meaning in shaping economic activities.
- The effects of property rights and institutions on decision-making.
- National economic management in an era of financial globalization, including fiscal, monetary, and regulatory challenges and connections between them. Economic policies for areas that have endured wholesale deindustrialization is a topic of great interest.
- How the rise of financial markets affects real economic sectors such as power generation and commodities storage and shipment.
- Emergence and effects of supranational agencies of economic management.
- Empirical studies of how public investment effects economic development and the implications of this for traditional models of production.
Grant proposals are due by October 20, 2014, and should be no longer than four pages in length, plus a one-page summary and a detailed budget. A research jury will review first stage applications, and invitations will be issued to those applicants with the most promising proposals to submit more complete applications. Grants will be awarded by Spring 2015.