We detail the rewards and barriers to participating in multidisciplinary research (MDR) using a 2011 survey of applied economists at U.S. universities. We compare these findings with an earlier 1993 survey to assess if rewards and barriers have changed over time. Different administrative levels of U.S. universities are sending contradictory signals regarding rewards from MDR. External funding agencies convey positive signals. Although the scope and breadth of questions addressed by applied economists are changing over time, institutional incentives and reward structures are not keeping pace with these changes. Progress toward adapting to new professional demands has been slow.