Register for Lindsey Raymond's seminar, April 15th


Paper Title: Money, Time, and Grant Design

The design of research grants might be a useful tool for incentivizing more socially valuable science. To better understand the value of grant design as a policy instrument, we conduct two sets of thought experiments in a nationally representative survey of academic researchers. First, we test whether grants with randomized attributes induce different research strategies. Longer grants increase researchers’ willingness to take risks, but only amongst tenured professors, suggesting that job security and grant duration are complementary incentives. Larger grants increase researchers’ willingness to expand ongoing projects, while smaller grants increase researchers’ focus on starting new projects. In our second experiment, we estimate researchers’ willingness to trade off grant size and duration. We find that researchers are relatively unwilling to trade off the amount of funding a grant provides in order to extend the duration of the grant — more money is much more valuable than more time.

Presenter: Wei Yang Tham (Harvard)

Coauthors: Kyle Myers (Harvard)

Discussant: Carolyn Stein (UC Berkeley)