James Morgan Innovation in the Analysis of Economic Behavior Fund


James Morgan, the founder of THE PANEL STUDY OF INCOME DYNAMICS

James Morgan, early in his career at ISR

Jim Morgan came to the University of Michigan in 1949 as a postdoctoral fellow in economics, and was one of the founding members of Institute for Social Research (ISR). Jim published extensively over his career, writing on topics including consumer behavior; the distribution of income and wealth; the dynamics of income change; economic survey methods; retirement, philanthropy, and mobility decisions; housing status; and productive non-market activity.

Throughout his career, he was known for substantive and methodological innovations. He is best known for one of each – developing the Panel Study on Income Dynamics and developing SEARCH, the first data mining program.

Find more information about Jim’s career here, the background on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics here, and SEARCH here.

To continue his spirit of substantive and methodological innovation in the analysis of economic behavior, Jim and his family established the James Morgan Innovation in the Analysis of Economic Behavior Fund to encourage U-M graduate students to use PSID data in new and original ways.


The competition is open to graduate students at the University of Michigan who have achieved candidacy. Preference will be given to students with a strong affiliation with the Institute for Social Research, and applicants working with a faculty member affiliated with ISR or applicants who can demonstrate that they will benefit from such an affiliation. Preference will also be given to an applicant with a substantively or methodologically innovative project using data from the Panel Study on Income Dynamics. Applications on related topics are also welcome.

Form and Scope of Award

The Morgan Fund will provide a Fellowship equivalent to a 0.5 GSRA position for one semester. In addition, the Fund will provide funding for one semester of tuition and GradCare health and dental insurance coverage provided during the term of the Award. Recipients of this Award may not be employed more than ten hours per week during the tenure of the Fellowship. Recipients may not hold this Award in conjunction with another award. Please see the Fellowships & Awards Homepage for specific award amounts and application deadlines, updated at the beginning of each calendar year.

Application Procedures

The application for the Morgan Award can be accessed here: http://apply.interfolio.com/83589.

The application includes:

  1. Proposal – A brief [three-page, single-spaced] description of the project, including how the project meets the goals of the Fund, about hypothesis and design, and a description of the proposed uses for the Award support.
  2. CV
  3. Letter of Recommendation from your advisor, department chair, dissertation advisor or committee member stating the strengths of the application and vouchsafing the candidate’s eligibility as well as supporting the likelihood of completing the proposed research.

As part of the application, there is also a form with several questions about the project to be supported, including project, methodology, timeline, deliverables, etc. Answers to these are expected to be brief, around 3 sentences.

If you have any questions about the award process, please send an email to umisr-awards@umich.edu.

Additional Expectations

  • At one year mark, you will be asked to share an update about the status of your research.
  • Acknowledge ISR and this award’s support in publications and presentations.

Morgan Award Recipients

Nishaad Rao, 2021
Davis Daumler, 2019
Shuqiao Sun, 2018

To support this fund and make future awards possible, please visit our Next Generation Giving Page.