Griffin Applied Economics Incubator

Applying economics to drive change. 

The Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Economics Incubator is a hub for generating new initiatives and ideas that drive broad-based thought and policy change. 

About the Incubator

The Griffin Applied Economics Incubator aims to elevate the status of the University of Chicago as a hub for generating key initiatives that drive broad-based thought and policy changes. Each academic year, the Incubator is dedicated to a specific topic of importance to society that stands to benefit from focused research attention and ideation. Scholars from all disciplines, as well as practitioners and policy makers are engaged in the Incubator’s activities.

The Inaugural Year

The inaugural year of the Griffin Applied Economics Incubator will focus on research in early childhood and the science of scaling evidence-based interventions within the field. Conceptualized and executed by the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health in partnership with the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Incubator will support the translation of ambitious and policy-relevant early childhood research into the realm of real-world applications.

 Incubator Activities


The Incubator encourages and produces a wide range of publications, including journal articles, opinion columns, and books, ensuring that the ideas generated by its participants reach a broad and diverse audience.

Innovation Fund

The Incubator identifies and invests in the most promising research focused on early childhood and issues around scaling, providing them with seed funds necessary to develop and test innovative approaches that yield transformative policy results.

Visitors Program

The Incubator hosts leading scholars from around the world as visitors, providing them with opportunities to present and fine-tune research, forge new partnerships, and explore emerging lines of inquiry to advance the field of early childhood and the science of scaling.


The Incubator brings together researchers and thought leaders in a variety of settings, from intimate workshops to major conferences, encouraging the cross-pollination of ideas and consensus-building across diverse fields.

 News + Announcements

The Griffin Applied Economics Incubator is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s faculty Innovation Fund grants:

  • Professor James J. Heckman’s “Investigating the Midlife Impacts of the Abecedarian Project: Exploring Potential Policy Adaptations to Target Disadvantaged Populations”
  • Professors Ariel Kalil and Susan E. Mayer’s “Understanding Differences in Parents’ Investment in Their Children’s School Readiness”
  • Professors Susan C. Levine and Stephen W. Raudenbush’s “Getting on Track Early for School Success: Scaling Up an Assessment-Instruction System for Preschool Math”
  • Professor Susan Goldin-Meadow’s “Improving Children’s Learning from Math Games in India.”

Upcoming Visitor Presentations

Kjell Salvanes, Professor, Labor Economics, Norwegian School of Economics, will present his paper, “Status Traps and Human Capital Investment” at the Center for the Economics of Human Development’s Lifecycle Working Group on October 23 (5:15 p.m., CEHD 180) and at the Chicago Education Workshop on October 29 (12:30 p.m., Stuart Hall 105). He will present “Mothers working during preschool years and child skills” at the Workshop in Family Economics on October 25 (4:00 p.m., SHFE 112).

See a complete schedule of visitor presentations here 

Upcoming Conferences + Workshops

Authors’ Workshop
November 19 – 20, 2019

A convening of contributors to the edited volume, “The Scale-up Effect in Early Childhood and Public Policy: Why interventions lose impact at scale and what we can do about it.”

See a complete list of conference and workshops here.

What cutting-edge neuroscience tells us about early childhood development” – Dr. Dana Suskind in the Brookings Institution’s Chalkboard

Basing Laws on Nothing Is Easier Than Using Evidence” – John List and Eszter Czibor in The Atlantic

University Of Chicago Professors Dana Suskind And John List Go Beyond The Word Gap” – Forbes