Posted on June 23, 2020
Economic Policy Institute provides the research powering the movement for economic justice
The interests of working people and their families are vital to supporting an economy that works for everyone. This truth has always been central to the Economic Policy Institute’s research and analysis, grounded in solid empirical work and research methodology that are respected by experts across the ideological spectrum.
EPI organizes our research agenda to respond to the changing needs of workers. This year, EPI has documented the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and associated economic catastrophe on working people through more than 100 online resources including blogs, reports, and videos. We have provided a key voice for economic policy sanity during the pandemic, shining a light, with real-time data, on the struggles facing people trying to make ends meet as tens of millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. That is why, from the beginning, EPI experts have called for a concerted policy response on the scale of the crisis, including significantly more aid to state and local governments, expanded unemployment insurance benefits, better safety and health protection for workers, a voice on the job, and full funding for coronavirus testing and treatment. Now, more than ever, EPI’s economists are needed to provide essential insights to policy makers and activists to develop humane, equitable, and workable solutions to guide the United States through this crisis.
EPI research also examines the economic implications of longer-term trends like inequality, systemic racism, and other forms of discrimination, while identifying targeted policies to invest in communities that have been recently and historically overlooked. For example, a new EPI report explores how racial and economic inequality have left many black workers with few good options for protecting both their health and economic well-being during the coronavirus pandemic. Persistent racial disparities in health status, access to health care, wealth, employment, wages, housing, income, and poverty all contribute to greater susceptibility to the virus’s impact—both economically and physically.While it will take more than one policy solution to overcome deeply entrenched disparities and achieve economic justice, we need to reshape our economy to be more resilient and responsive during a crisis. This includes investing in communities, renewable energy, and infrastructure; rebuilding our tattered social safety net; and strengthening worker power to give workers the tools to bargain collectively for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. We need a solid economic foundation in order to achieve economic justice for all and better prepare us to weather the next economic downturn whenever it comes.
At EPI, we like to say our research powers the movement for economic justice. Grassroots partners use our data and analysis to win campaigns to raise the minimum wage, extend benefits for paid family and medical leave, increase the number of workers eligible for overtime protections, push back against efforts to weaken unions, and increase funding in state and local communities. Our experts are regularly called upon to provide testimony at the federal, state, and local level.
More than 20 years ago, EPI created the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a nationwide network of close to 60 state and local research, policy, and advocacy organizations that share expertise and resources to strengthen each other and pursue their common mission. Together with collaborating scholars and national organizations, along with allied state and local groups representing affected communities, EARN partners constitute the core progressive research and policy infrastructure for shaping and promoting a better economic future in the states. At a time that progress at the federal level has often stalled, the ability to support workers and their families at the state level is even more essential. Every successful campaign also helps to build the case for future federal action.
Over more than three decades, EPI has become the preeminent voice on the policies needed to support working people and their families with an unrivaled team of economic and policy experts. EPI led the way in calling out inequality long before that became mainstream. We were the first to note the wage-productivity gap — the growing gap between overall productivity growth and the growth in pay of the vast majority of workers since the 1970s, and the implications of what this means for worker power. We have developed a robust and ever-evolving policy agenda informed by our research on the best policy solutions needed to truly make the economy work for everyone. Together, with the support of our friends at CREDO and its generous members like you, we can get these policies enacted and realize the dream of true economic justice for all.