Washington Center for Equitable Growth awards $1.3 million to scholars exploring the connection between economic inequality and growth

2021 grants emphasize the impact of structural racism on inequality, economic mobility, and market concentration, with expanded exploration of child care and climate issues

Katie Wilcoxson, kwilcoxson@equitablegrowth.org

WASHINGTON – The Washington Center for Equitable Growth announced today it will award research grants totaling $1,392,795 to generate evidence on the ways that inequality affects economic growth and stability.

“The advances from every research grant will be invaluable to broadening our knowledge of the challenges and opportunities present in the U.S. economy for today’s workers and families across race, ethnicity, gender, and class,” said Equitable Growth’s incoming President and CEO Michelle Holder. “Our grant program is a cornerstone of our mission to foster strong, stable, and broad-based economic growth through data-driven policymaking, and we are honored to be able to continue to support scholars doing this critical work.”

This year’s awards underscore Equitable Growth’s commitment to funding cutting-edge research that answers today’s pressing policy questions and will inform the debates of tomorrow. For the first time, the economic effects of climate change were featured in the Request for Proposals, and the organization awarded its first-ever grants focused solely on child care.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provided generous financial support for research on the measurement, welfare effects, and remediation of excessive market power concentration, the relationship between competition and economic dynamism, and new foundations for antitrust actions.

“We’re thrilled to see such creativity, diversity, and excellence in this year’s grant pool,” added Jason Furman, an economic policy professor at Harvard University and member of Equitable Growth’s Steering Committee. “Especially in light of the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have researchers who are examining the full scope of how people are interacting with and affected by shifts in our market structure.”

In addition, Equitable Growth continued to reaffirm and deepen its commitment to focusing on the racial and ethnic elements of inequality in the United States, as well as strengthening the pipeline of early-career scholars of color. The 2021 RFP included a call for research that directly examines structural racism, including both historical studies of the incidence and effects, as well as research that could inform policy solutions to combat it. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided generous support for research on structural racism, as well as innovative research on economic mobility in the United States.

“Much of mainstream economic study and application has sidelined a core determinant of economic outcomes: the intersection of race and power,” said interim chief economist and Director of Labor Market Policy Kate Bahn. “Through our grants program, we are able to better explore the inextricable link between economic and racial inequality and its effect on growth and stability to help advance an evidence-backed policy agenda that fosters a dynamic, inclusive economy in the United States.”

2021 marks the organization’s eighth cycle of academic grantmaking and sets a record for the largest funding year to date. Equitable Growth has seeded more than $7 million to more than 250 scholars through its competitive grants program since its founding in 2013.

The 62 grantees who will participate in this year’s funded research are economists and social scientists who currently serve as faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and Ph.D. candidates at U.S. colleges and universities, as well as scholars from government research agencies.

Equitable Growth funds research in four categories:

  • Human capital and well-being, including the effect of economic inequality on the development of human potential
  • The labor market, including the effect of inequality on the smooth functioning of the labor market and the gains from labor
  • Macroeconomic policy, including the effects of monetary, fiscal, and tax policy on inequality and growth
  • Market structure, including the causes of increased concentration and consequences for productivity, growth, labor markets, and power

Equitable Growth’s grant program is open to researchers affiliated with a U.S. university, and its doctoral grants are open to graduate students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a U.S. university. For more information on the grants awarded in 2021, click here.

To view the 2021 Request for Proposals, click here. Equitable Growth’s 2022 Request for Proposals will be released in November 2021.

Full descriptions of the 2021 grants and a profile of each grantee can be found on the Equitable Growth website: human capital and well-beingmacroeconomic policymarket structure, and the labor market.


The Washington Center for Equitable Growth is a nonprofit research and grantmaking organization dedicated to advancing evidence-backed ideas and policies that promote strong, stable, and broad-based economic growth. For more information, see www.equitablegrowth.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @equitablegrowth.


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