President’s Comment: Fed Chair Calls on Researchers to Identify Responses to Inequality

“Research may be able to provide evidence on which public policies are most helpful in building an economy in which people are poised to get ahead. Conversely, it would also be beneficial to understand whether any policies may hold people back or discourage upward mobility.”

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, April 2, 2015

Inequality has long affected families and communities in the U.S. and around the world, and it has risen to the forefront for policy makers who seek effective responses to this complex and far-reaching issue. Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen challenged the research community to do its part to help. Opening the Fed’s community development research conference, she encouraged researchers to generate new understanding of how families and communities get ahead, what challenges they face, and which policies help or discourage economic mobility.

The Foundation intends to be an active participant in this effort by supporting research on programs, policies, and practices that reduce inequality among young people, and by advancing the use of evidence in policy decisions about youth development.

In September, we issued the first of five reports that outline the specific areas where we believe research can be most effective in identifying responses to inequality. We have also written extensively about the use of research evidence in policy and practice. This summer, we are accepting letters of inquiry from researchers who are interested in building stronger theory and empirical evidence to inform change in these areas. We invite you to review our guidelines and application deadlines and to share this opportunity with your colleagues.