The Political Economics Initiative is an interdisciplinary research program that focuses an economic lens on the questions, incentives, and choices that shape political decision-making in the United States and around the world. Scholars employ the latest in theoretical and empirical techniques to explore how economic decision-making is influenced by political factors. In doing so, they investigate a broad range of issues, including media and communications, social networks, ideology, identity, social norms, political institutions, and many others. By applying economic tools to questions surrounding the business of political systems, this Initiative sheds new light on politics and its impact on society.


The Political Economics Initiative regularly initiates a call for proposals to the full Chicago Economics community for innovative research ideas. We are excited to support cutting-edge research on campus through seven grants to date.

Rafael Jimenez (Student Award)
Proposed Project Title: Haters Gonna Hate: The Micro Effects of Censoring Hate Speech in Social Media

Scott Behmer (Student Award)
Proposed Project Title: Willingness to Provide Biased News

Mateusz Stalinski (Student Award)
Proposed Project Title: Mitigating Affective Polarisation and ‘Echo Chambers’: Experimental Study of Mechanisms

Luis Martinez
Proposed Project Title: Fiscal Rules and Local Development in Colombia

Raul Sanchez de la Sierra
Proposed Project Title: Who Joins Armed Organizations? Moral Sentiments, Economic Incentives, and Social Norms

Daniel Kashner (Student Award)
Proposed Project Title: Disrupting Polarization

Shaoda Wang (Staff Award)
Proposed Project Title: The Selection and the Making of Civil Servants: Evidence from China’s College Graduate Civil Services Program

Associated Scholars

Associated Working Papers

BFI Working Paper Nov 30, 2020

Political Economy of Crisis Response

Arda Gitmez, Konstantin Sonin, Austin Wright
Topics:  COVID-19
BFI Working Paper Oct 6, 2020

The Political Economics of Non-democracy

Georgy Egorov, Konstantin Sonin
BFI Working Paper Sep 14, 2020

Institutional Change and Institutional Persistence

Daron Acemoglu, Georgy Egorov, Konstantin Sonin

Associated News

BFI News Feb 3, 2020

BFI Awards 16 New Grants In Support of Economics Research

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) is pleased to announce the award of 16 new grants supporting economics research by University of Chicago faculty and students in a...
Media Mention May 31, 2019

How Do Populists Win?

Project Syndicate; James A. Robinson
Media Mention May 23, 2019

Guns From the United States are Flooding Latin America

The Economist; Oeindrila Dube