The Becker Friedman Institute (BFI) is pleased to announce the award of 16 new research grants to University of Chicago faculty and students for economics research into the effects of the coronavirus and policy response. In all, BFI has awarded 21 grants to date. This is a unique and important moment for the study of economics and economic policy, and these grants will support research exploring the urgent and broad set of implications of both the pandemic and the public response across multiple areas of study.

Grants are intended to support a number of research activities, including the purchase of new data sets and software, hiring of research assistants, and travel.

BFI is proud to announce the 2020 recipients of the research grants, listed below, along with the research the grant will be supporting, data source where applicable, and previous awards.


New Grants for the Study of Economic Effects of the Coronavirus

Research: The Cost of Partisanship: Politics and Risk Perceptions in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
John Barrios, Assistant Professor of Accounting, Booth School of Business

Research: Smart Restart: Precision Targeting of Low Risk Economic Activity.
Katherine Baicker, Dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor, Harris School of Public Policy
Oeindrila Dube, Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Harris School of Public Policy
Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Computation and Behavioral Science, Booth School of Business
Devin Pope, Professor of Behavioral Science, Booth School of Business

Research: Higher Order Beliefs during a Pandemic: An RCT to Test the Effects of Public Health Campaigns
Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Sydney Stein Professor, Harris School of Public Policy
Mehdi Shadmehr, Visiting Associate Professor, Harris School of Public Policy
Adam Zelizer, Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy

Research: Experimental Evidence on the Impacts of Cash Transfers to Migrant Laborers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Fiona Burlig, Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy
Anant Sudarshan, Senior Research Associate, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics

Research: Firm-Level Risk Exposures and Stock Price Reactions to COVID-19
Steven J. Davis, William H. Abbott Distinguished Service Professor of International Business and Economics, Booth School of Business

Research: COVID’s Effect on the Education Sector
Michael Dinerstein, Assistant Professor, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Claudia Allende, Saieh Family Fellow in Economics

Research: The Depth of the Economic Crisis and the Effectiveness of the Government’s Response
Peter Ganong, Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy
Pascal Noel, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Finance, Booth School of Business

Research: The University of Chicago’s COVID‐19 Antibody Testing Project
Michael Greenstone, The Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and Harris School of Public Policy
Ali Hortacsu, Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor of Economics, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Magne Mogstad, Gary S. Becker Professor in Economics and the College, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Azeem Shaikh, Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor in Economics and the College, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Alexander Torgovitsky, Assistant Professor in Economics and the College, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Winnie van Dijk, Saieh Family Fellow in Economics

Research: The Economic Disruption of Coronavirus in China
Zhiguo He, Fuji Bank and Heller Professor of Finance, Booth School of Business
Chang-Tai Hsieh, Phyllis and Irwin Winkelried Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business

Research: De-biasing the Overoptimistic to Help Address the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Vulnerable Population in India
Rebecca Dizon-Ross, Associate Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business

Research: Effects of the Coronavirus on Parents’ Investments in Children’s Human Capital Development
Ariel Kalil, Professor, Harris School of Public Policy
Susan Mayer, Professor Emeritus, Harris School of Public Policy

Research: Who Starts the Information Cascade? Trigger Seeds and the Flow of Information in Times of Crisis
John List, Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics

Research: COVID-19 Community Testing in India
Anup Malani, Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law, The Law School

Research: Prevalence, Perception, and Preventive Behavior during the Corona Epidemic
Magne Mogstad
, Gary S. Becker Professor in Economics and the College, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Alexander Torgovitsky, Assistant Professor in Economics and the College, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Winnie van Dijk, Saieh Family Fellow in Economics

Research: Estimating the Returns to Alleviating Psychological and Economic Distress
Heather Sarsons, Neubauer Assistant Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business

Research: Default and Mortgage Market Consequences of the Pandemic
Joseph Vavra, Associate Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business


Previous Grants for the Study of Economic Effects of the Coronavirus

Research: Coordination Problems and Social Distancing: Inertia in the Aggregate Response to COVID-19
Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Sydney Stein Professor, Harris School of Public Policy

Research: The Death Toll of Biased Media: Evidence From the Coronavirus Crisis
Leonardo Bursztyn, Assistant Professor, Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics

Research: Electricity Consumption as a Real Time Indicator of Economic Activity
Steve Cicala, Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy

Research: Desperate Times, Desperate Prices? Quantifying Aversion to Price Gouging
Rafael Jimenez, PhD student, Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics

Research: COVID-19, Expectations, and Personality Traits
Michael Weber, Assistant Professor, Booth School of Business