Around the world and across the United States, unjust social stratification harms individuals and communities. To Black people and other people of color, to women, to immigrants, to Indigenous peoples, and to many others with social identities deemed different from socially defined dominant groups, society offers reduced wealth, increased discrimination, more violence, inadequate healthcare, fewer protections, and less economic, cultural, and political power. Social stratification and related belief systems — starting with race, racism, and racial resentment — prevent humane, just, moral decision making. They deter investments in common goods. They threaten democracy itself.

Inequalities that have formed over centuries cannot be undone with small ideas. Structural problems can only be solved with transformational ideas grounded in rigorous research. The Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy advances research to understand structural inequalities and works to identify groundbreaking ways to promote equity. A premier cross-disciplinary hub, the Institute draws on faculty across The New School in New York City, which has long fostered innovative thinking about power, structure, design, politics, economics, and society. The Institute engages with researchers and practitioners, including community and business leaders, policymakers, philanthropists, and journalists across the nation and around the world. Read more >>


The Color of Wealth in Chicago

In Chicago, the median net worth of White families is $210,000. For U.S. born Mexican families, it’s $40,500. And for Black families, it’s $0. Color of Wealth in Chicago, our new study funded by and released in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust, provides a never-before-seen look at how wealth intersects with race, ethnicity, and country of origin across the Chicago metropolitan area. Revealing dramatic racial and ethnic wealth disparities, the report examines how the structure of wealth in Chicago has been shaped by the region’s history, policy, and practices, from housing and economic development to the justice system and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Shame of Chicago

This four-part documentary series lays bare the true stories behind how Chicago and its suburbs devised the nation’s most sweeping system of racially segregated communities and how these policies diminished the lives of generations of Black families, creating the vast racial wealth gap that persists to this day. The Institute was a major charitable contributor to the series, which premiered in April on WTTW in Chicago. Institute founding director, Prof. Darrick Hamilton, participated in a roundtable discussion about the series and its themes following the final episode.


Public Transportation Subsidies and Racial Equity

This new report examining subsidies across the city’s ten transit systems by race and income finds inequities between subsidies for the NYC Ferry service compared with the Fair Fares program for the MTC’s subway and bus riders, and underscores the importance of assessing policies and budgets through a racial equity lens.
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Baby Bonds

Baby Bonds are an increasingly popular government policy in which every child born into poverty receives a publicly funded trust account at birth, providing them with “start-up capital” to pursue fulfilling, productive, prosperous, and self-directed lives.

Follow our Baby Blogs series to learn about the vision, politics, and people behind Baby Bonds and their transformative impact on the lives of young people, their families, and communities.

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Our Partners

We are grateful to the organizations below, which have generously provided financial support to the Institute and its research:

  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Brookings Institution
  • Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Japanese Community Youth Council & San Francisco Human Rights Commission
  • JPMorganChase Foundation
  • Marguerite Casey Foundation
  • National Urban League
  • Omidyar Network
  • Open Society Foundations
  • PolicyLink
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Robin Hood Foundation
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • The California Endowment
  • The Chicago Community Trust
  • The Commonwealth Fund
  • The Families & Workers Fund
  • The James Irvine Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • The Rockefeller Foundation
  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Universal Music Group’s Taskforce for Meaningful Change
  • Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
  • WhyNot Initiative