The Economic Policy Institute: A Voice for Working People

The economy does not work for the majority of people in this country. The traditional American dream of having a stable job with decent pay, a comfortable home, quality health care, a secure retirement, and being able to pay for your children’s college is out of reach for millions of workers. The U.S. has gotten wealthier and wealthier but the standard of living for the vast majority has not kept pace. This is no accident; it is the result of 40 years of policies that favor the wealthy and corporate interests. 

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) was founded in 1986 to be an effective voice for workers and their families. EPI’s founders saw a real need for a research institute to advocate for economic justice for working people and ensure that the bread-and-butter issues affecting workers and their families were not left out of the public policy debate. EPI focuses its attention on fighting for economic justice for working people and for racial and gender justice at the federal, state, and local levels. 

EPI plays a vital role in the progressive movement by providing economic research, analysis, and policy prescriptions that progressive policymakers and advocates for social and economic justice rely on to shape policy debates. We collaborate with our allies in government, the media, unions, and grassroots advocacy groups to make a strong research-backed case for the interests of working people and their families. 

On the federal level EPI’s crucial research and analyses have been instrumental in promoting: 

  • A strong minimum wage. EPI has fought to raise the federal minimum wage so that every worker earns a decent wage and no one who works full time has to live in poverty;
  • Collective bargaining rights. EPI supports the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and other measures to safeguard the rights of workers to form a union and collectively bargain for decent pay and benefits;
  • Dignified and safe working conditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic EPI consistently shined a light on the plight of workers in health, service, or production who were often forced to work in unsafe conditions, without proper protective gear, and denied hazard pay. EPI has also strongly supported paid sick family leave for workers; and
  • The right response to inflation. There is an enormous amount of misinformation about inflation right now, and EPI has been tireless in providing rigorous, data driven pushback to the most damaging myths, such as the myth that inflation is primarily being driven by federal relief and recovery measures.

EPI also works to build worker power on the state and local levels. EPI founded our Economic Research and Analysis Network (EARN) more than twenty years ago as a national network of state think tanks and policy advocacy organizations that are focused on economic policy issues affecting workers in their states and localities. Fifty-five state groups in forty-three states and the District of Columbia comprise the network. EARN gives EPI a grassroots focus by addressing the different ways that economic issues impact people in different regions and localities across the country. EPI’s EARN team has provided data and policy guidance to our EARN partners in over one hundred state minimum wage campaigns with more than thirty victories in the last five years alone. 

EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE) addresses the intersection of race and the economy. PREE’s frequently cited research, policy analysis, and thought leadership shine a light on the large racial and ethnic disparities in unemployment, wages, income, poverty, hours of work, and wealth, which have persisted over generations and are rooted in structural racism and policy choices. This work also looks at the intersection of race and gender, examining how women overall and women of color in particular fare in the economy, with a specific focus on wage disparities.

EPI’s research is widely respected and is recognized as highly credible. Journalists turn to EPI to give them the true facts on the economy. We are consistently cited in national media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. EPI experts and research are also featured on MSNBC, C-SPAN and NPR. In a typical year, EPI is cited in the media more than 20,000 times and our staff are seen or heard by millions on television and radio. 

Corporate elites have well-funded think tanks which advocate for policies that benefit the one percent. We have seen the devastating results of those policies for decades. EPI makes a compelling case for policies that help working people, reduce inequality, and eliminate the effects of racial and gender discrimination. 

Your vote for EPI is a vote to realize the vision of an economy that works for everyone and leaves no one behind. Click here to cast your vote today.