George Katona Dissertation Award in Economic Behavior



George Katona

George Katona

The George Katona Research Award Fund in Economic Behavior was established to support emerging scholars who are interested in how economic expectations shape consumer behavior and the macroeconomy.

George Katona was a founder of behavioral economics and a pioneer in the empirical measurement of expectations. His interest spanned from income, employment and inflation expectations to consumers’ reactions to fiscal and monetary policies. He started the Surveys of Consumers which has collected data on these topics since 1946.

The Katona Dissertation Award provides dissertation research awards to emerging scholars in the social sciences conducting empirically grounded economic research in the tradition of George Katona. Priority will be given to research using the Surveys of Consumers database or similar data from the more than 60 other countries that conduct consumer surveys and to work on the development and application of expectational measures. The award is designed to enable dissertation candidates to focus on and complete their dissertation. Learn more about the SCA at

For more information on Katona’s research on how consumers influenced cyclical developments in the economy, go to The Katona Award connects emerging scholars with the Institute for Social Research and the Survey Research Center’s deep and rich history and resources in the study of economic and social behavior.


The Katona Dissertation Research Award Fund will provide funding for a one-semester fellowship at the level of a 0.5 GSRA appointment, along with a $3,000 research award, for a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan conducting empirically grounded economic research using the Surveys of Consumers or similar data, along. The Katona Award is designed to enable the recipient to complete their dissertation in less than a year.

Form and Scope of Award

Feiya Shao with her dog

Feiya Shao, 2015 Katona Scholar. Read her profile. Photo courtesy of Feiya Shao.

The Katona Award will provide funding for one-semester of funding at the level of a 0.5 Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) fellowship, including stipend, candidate-level tuition, and GradCare health coverage. In addition, the Katona Fund provides a $3,000 for research expenses, such as:

  • Travel (related to data collection or academic collaborations)
  • Acquiring datasets
  • Hiring an assistant

The total financial support will be approximately $24,000, but will vary by recipient. Funds will be transferred to the student’s home department to be administered by the department. Awards are intended for use within one year, but may be extended upon request for an additional six months upon request.


Applicants must be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy (completed all requirements for a Ph.D. except the dissertation defense) in a degree granting program at the University of Michigan by the time the award is made. Special preference will be given to applicants working with a faculty member affiliated with ISR or applicants who can demonstrate that they will benefit from such an affiliation.

Application Procedures

Applications will be assessed according to the quality of the dissertation projects, the strength of the letters of recommendation, and the ability of the student to finish their dissertation by the end the term of the award (usually the summer of the following year).

Applications should include: (application should use 12 point font and 1.5 spacing)

  • A cover page using this format.
  • A three-page description of the proposed activity that includes
    1. A justification for how the project is inspired by George Katona’s work and meets the goals of the Fund,
    2. Sufficient detail about the hypotheses and design with special attention paid to the value of using Surveys of Consumers related data or to measures related to expectations.
  • One-page budget with description of the proposed uses of the funding and how these uses will assist in completing the dissertation,
  • A brief description of the project’s intellectual relationship with ISR or ISR’s faculty,
  • Three letters of nomination, including one from the dissertation chair attesting to the likelihood that the applicant will complete the dissertation within 12 months,
  • Current Curriculum Vitae,
  • Current U-M Transcript.

Applications are accepted in electronic format. Please submit your application in as few files as possible in Portable Document Format (pdf), and named with the applicant’s last name (e.g., Smith-Juster App.pdf). Applications and questions about the award should be sent to Jennifer Puckett ( Note, letters of recommendation may be sent directly by the writer in either electronic or hard copy format.

Application Deadlines

The deadline for submission is the last Friday in February at 4:00 p.m. Final decisions will be made by March 31st, and funds will be available as early as May 1st.

Katona Award Recipients

Yipei Cao, 2017 – Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of Michigan
Shuqiao Sun, 2017 – Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of Michigan
Catalina Franco and Meera Mahadevan, 2016 – Ph.D. Candidates in Economics, University of Michigan
Bryan Stuart, 2016 – Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of Michigan
Feiya Shao, 2015 – Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of Michigan
Isaac Sorkin and Bryan Stuart, 2015 – Ph.D. Candidates in Economics, University of Michigan
Tong Yob Nam, 2014 – Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of Michigan
Johannes Norling, 2014 – Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of Michigan
Peter Hudomiet, 2013 – Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of Michigan
Nitya Pandalai Nayar, 2013 – Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of Michigan