Who We Are

The Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy conducts research to shed light on the structures of inequality and develop knowledge about the pivotal roles of race, power, and social stratification. Building relationships beyond the academy, institute researchers work to identify, implement, and scale transformative ideas to promote economic inclusion, civic empowerment, and social equity. The Institute also works to foster the next generation of scholars bringing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and new thinking to society’s biggest challenges.

How We Work

Building relationships beyond academia. Research matters most when it’s useful to and used by practitioners. Through collaborations, researchers learn which research questions and approaches are most valuable to practitioners. Practitioners, in turn, gain access to new research, evidence, and perspectives which they can use to inform their work and make better decisions. As a convener and supporter of partnerships and relationships, the Institute aims to connect researchers to leaders in civil society — members of community organizations, policymakers, workers groups, business leaders, philanthropists, journalists, and activists — to take on society’s most troubling inequities. 

Advancing knowledge, measurement, theory, and methodology. To be addressed effectively, problems must first be understood. Ways to measure progress must be identified. New theory must be developed, building on and critiquing past work. The Institute aims to house innovative research teams that will make new contributions to theory and methods, create  measurements, and release findings that will help everyone see inequity more clearly than ever before.

Identifying, testing, and scaling transformative solutions. From Baby Bonds to a Federal Job Guarantee to innovations that have not yet been developed, the Institute supports imaginative, bold ideas to shift policy and practice so that government, business, and nonprofit entities can advance equity in large-scale and measurable ways. As a research lab, the Institute works to put these ideas on the public agenda — and collaborates with partners on pilot projects, implementation, measurement, evaluation, and taking successes to scale.

Fostering a new generation of scholars. Too much scholarship has pathologized inequity, blaming, for example, Black people or women for failing to take advantage of opportunities to which, in truth, they never actually had equal access. One reason for this is the deplorable lack of diversity among scholars, a problem compounded by inequities in power and resources in academic institutions. The Institute aims to support the success and empowerment of scholars, especially scholars who are Black, Latino, other people of color, women, Indigenous people, or those who hold other social identities subordinated by dominant groups. Further, the Institute aims to be part of conversations about ways academic institutions that too often perpetuate and exacerbate inequalities can transform themselves into engines of equity.

The Institute on Race Power and Political Economy was founded in 2021 to understand and advance economic inclusion, civic engagement, and equity. The Institute provides the intellectual and physical space to cultivate innovative policies, strategies, and investments that break down restrictive hierarchies, empower people, and move society toward greater social equity by fusing insights from multiple disciplines to improve our understanding of the causes, consequences, and remedies associated with racial, ethnic, gender, and other forms of stratification in a host of domains including education, employment, criminal justice, health, housing, environment, asset accumulation, and other vital sectors across regional, national, and international landscapes.