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The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), with the generous support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to advance understanding of women’s role in the economy by supporting early-stage research projects. The NBER is offering approximately five research grants of $20,000 each for projects studying how women are differentially affected by, and respond to, external shocks of various types, including economic, political, social, technological, health, and environmental factors.

Shocks of these varieties have had profound effects on the incomes, consumption, time utilization, wellbeing, and life expectancy of individuals in developed and developing countries in recent times and historically. The same shock may have different effects on men and women because they are differentially exposed to shocks or have dissimilar access to risk-mitigating institutions and technologies. 

Research projects that focus on both developing and developed nations, as well as the historical period, are welcome. Grant funds may be used to cover costs associated with a variety of research expenditures, including data acquisition, surveys, travel, and coding. They may not be used to cover salary for project investigators. The $20,000 grant can include indirect costs of no more than 15%. Grants run for one year and can be extended for another year by written request.

Applications, consisting of a research proposal of no more than three pages (single spaced), an itemized budget, and a brief (three-page maximum) curriculum vitae for each of the principal investigators, should be compiled into a single PDF file and uploaded to:

Applicants must be current affiliates of an academic institution either within or outside the US. Applications from doctoral and post-doctoral students should include a one-page letter of recommendation from a senior researcher, such as a dissertation advisor, who is knowledgeable about the project. When a substantial part of the grant request will be used for data collection or production, grant recipients are encouraged to make the resulting data publicly available to the extent possible, for example within the limits of confidentiality agreements, and to discuss this possibility in the proposal. 

Applications are especially welcome from untenured faculty members, and post-doctoral and advanced doctoral students, from researchers with and without NBER affiliations, and from researchers who are members of groups that are under-represented in economics.  

Submission of applications must be by 11:59pm EDT on Thursday, May 20, 2021. They will be evaluated by a review committee that includes Jessica Goldberg (University of Maryland and NBER), Claudia Goldin (Harvard University and NBER), Claudia Olivetti (Dartmouth College and NBER) and Berk Özler (World Bank). Decisions will be announced by Friday, June 4, 2021. 

Grantees will be expected to provide a summary of research work completed by May 31, 2022, and are encouraged to submit a paper based on their project for potential presentation at the 2022 meeting of the NBER Study Group on Women in the Economy. 

Please direct any questions to Denis Healy at