George Mason University

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Schar School receives $1.1 million from the Koch Foundation for research on immigration, labor markets

March 21, 2019   /   by Rob Riordan

Goldstone

George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government has received a $1.1 million gift from the Charles Koch Foundation to pursue research on immigration, population change and labor markets.

The five-year grant supports Mason’s Center for the Study of Social Change, Institutions and Policy, led since 2003 by Professor Jack A. Goldstone. The grant will fund research by at least five new PhD fellows, center operating expenses and—beginning in fall 2019—an annual workshop on the impact of demography and migration.

“The U.S. is at an inflection point, with fertility rates at all-time lows, while our workforce is aging and becoming more diverse,” said Goldstone, the Virginia E. and John T. Hazel Jr. Professor of Public Policy at the Schar School. “Thanks to this new funding, we’ll be able to support more PhD students and help the next generation of scholars to tackle these crucial issues.”

“Professor Goldstone and his colleagues at the center are carrying out some of the most important and relevant research today on the impact of global population changes,” said Mark J. Rozell, dean of the Schar School. “We are grateful for the Charles Koch Foundation’s support of this vital research, which will further expand the Schar School’s reputation for shaping the national conversation on key public policy issues.”

Through grants to more than 350 colleges and universities, the Charles Koch Foundation supports scholars and students exploring ideas and solutions that meet the challenges of our day.

“The Schar School is evaluating critical questions at the heart of the immigration conversation, and we’re excited to support their substantive statistical research to enrich understanding about the contributions immigrants make to our society and economy,” said Ryan Stowers, executive vice president of the Charles Koch Foundation.

The largest public research university in Virginia, Mason is also one of the highest-ranked research institutions in the nation, having received an R1 rating from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The Schar School connects policy with action and, in addition to a renowned multidisciplinary faculty, hosts visiting faculty who are some of the brightest minds in government and public policy, including former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, former CIA director Michael Hayden and former Virginia secretary of education Anne Holton.

Goldstone, a founder of the new field of “political demography,” received a lifetime achievement award from the International Studies Association and a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work in 2014. His research focuses on how population changes affect economic and fiscal policy and shape the conditions for building democracy and political stability around the world. His 2010 essay in the magazine Foreign Affairs, “The New Population Bomb,” which analyzed the impact of aging and youth bulges on the global economy and international security, was one of the most downloaded and discussed essays in recent years.

Goldstone’s new research project will explore U.S. policy responses to challenges created by changing demographic and economic conditions, including: 

  • current and projected flows of global migration;
  • how to attract productive workers and entrepreneurs to developed economies, and how to improve the effective integration of immigrants and unskilled workers into those economies; 
  • how to promote higher fertility rates in developed economies and
  • how to maintain the productivity of older workers and address the fiscal challenges of containing health and pension costs in countries with aging populations.