The Washington Center for Equitable Growth's central mission is to deepen our understanding of whether and how inequality affects economic growth and stability. Our academic grants program is building a portfolio of cutting-edge scholarly research investigating the various channels through which economic inequality may (or may not) impact economic growth and stability, including both direct and indirect pathways. We consider proposals on the consequences of economic inequality across wages, benefits, incomes, wealth, and job quality, as well as group dimensions of inequality including gender, race, and ethnicity. We also consider proposals on the causes of inequality to the extent that understanding these casual pathways will help us identify and understand key channels through which economic inequality may impact growth and stability.
Equitable Growth supports inquiry utilizing many different kinds of evidence, relying on a variety of methodological approaches and cutting across academic disciplines, including economics, political science, sociology, history, social psychology, and others. We are especially interested in projects using administrative data, and other new or innovative data sources.
We are currently requesting proposals in four areas:
How, if at all, does economic inequality have an impact on macroeconomic growth and stability, and how does the macroeconomy affect inequality? We are interested in whether a more equal distribution of income across households would lead to faster or more stable economic growth, and in the relationship between the health of individual household balance sheets and the health of the economy as a whole.
Human Capital and the Labor Market
How, if at all, does economic inequality affect the development of human capital, and to what extent do aggregate trends in human capital explain inequality dynamics? Do different levels or kinds of inequality impact the potential for talent to emerge across the income, earnings, or wealth distribution, and, if so, how?
How, if at all, does economic inequality impact the quantity and quality of innovation? Do technological innovations or any related reorganization of work, in turn, have an impact on inequality? Does economic inequality influence the kind of innovation that takes place, and who benefits from that innovation? We are especially interested in proposals that investigate whether and how inequality affects the development of the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs.
On a fundamental level, all three prior channels - the macroeconomy, human capital and the labor market, and innovation - are mediated by a wide range of institutions, all of which are shaped by policy choices. How, if at all, do levels and trends in economic inequality impact the quality of social, economic, and political institutions contributing to economic well-being and economic growth? How, if at all, do levels and trends in economic inequality impact corporate governance practices, and how do these institutional practices translate into economic outcomes for the economy as a whole? How have changes in market structure impacted the distribution of economic resources and power, and what impact have these changes had on economic growth?