John R. Meyer Dissertation Fellowship (for Harvard Doctoral Students)


About the John R. Meyer Dissertation Fellowship

Doctoral students from a variety of disciplines writing a thesis on a housing-related topic are encouraged to apply for a John R. Meyer Dissertation Fellowship. Meyer Dissertation Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend as well project advising and support from our researchers and faculty affiliates.

The Fellowship honors the memory of the late John R. Meyer, who was the James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Economic Growth, emeritus at the Harvard Kennedy School. One of the leading urban economists of his generation, Meyer, also served as president of the National Bureau of Economic Research and as a professor at Harvard Business School and in the economics departments at both Harvard and Yale. He chaired the Joint Center for Housing Studies' Faculty Committee from 1997-2003 and served as the Center's Interim Director from 1996 to 1998.

Qualified Candidates and Expectations

The Fellowship is open to Harvard doctoral students in in any discipline who have an approved prospectus for a housing-related doctoral dissertation and have a genuine desire to be part of an interdisciplinary community of researchers and scholars interested in housing issues. Recent fellows have included students studying Design, Economics, Government, Social Policy, Sociology and Urban Planning. Meyer Doctoral Fellows are expected to present some aspect of their dissertation research at our Housing Research Seminar and submit it for publication as a Working Paper. 

The 2018-2019 Meyer Doctoral Fellows are:

  • Seung Kyum Kim, Doctor of Design candidate, for his thesis-related work on “Housing markets in U.S. cities' responses to natural disasters,” which is being advised by Rick Peiser and Peter Rowe. 
  • Michael Reher, Ph.D. candidate in Economics, whose research focuses on notable changes in rental housing since the Great Recession, especially for higher-priced units. In particular, he is documenting changes in housing quality, measuring how these changes affect rents for different types of people, and assessing how innovations in property management have contributed to these changes. He is being advised by Ed Glaeser.
  • Julia Smachylo, Doctor of Design candidate, for her thesis-related work on “Benefits, trade-offs, and interactions between forest management property-tax incentive programs, housing policies, and urbanization patterns in the Great Lakes Regions,” which is being advised by Neil Brenner and Michael Hooper.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit the following materials:

  • Brief statement (2-3 pages) outlining the dissertation topic, the status of the project, the expected timetable for completion, and the applicant's future interests and goals in the field of housing research
  • Resume or CV
  • Transcript or list of graduate school courses and grades
  • Letters of support from two graduate faculty members who may be consulted as references
  • A short (5-10 page) writing sample

Applicants should submit their materials via Harvard's Centralized Application for Research and Travel (CARAT) system. 

Applications are due by Friday, March 8, 2019 at 5 pm.

For additional information, please contact

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