Our Programs

Supporting science-based approaches to understanding poverty and inequality

The Center has over 125 Stanford University faculty affiliates, national and international fellows, student affiliates, and visiting scholars and fellows. These affiliates and fellows are engaged in core research on trends in poverty and inequality, the sources of poverty and inequality, the consequences of poverty and inequality, and the effects of policy initiatives on poverty and inequality. The Center provides small seed grants to faculty and student affiliates that allow them to carry out creative research and demonstration projects that will ultimately attract major federal and foundation monies. We also sponsor the John E. Sawyer faculty seminar and the Berkeley-Stanford faculty seminar.

Developing science-based policy

The Center is committed to evaluating and developing public policy relevant to poverty and inequality. In collaboration with Stanford University Press, the Center sponsors a book series, titled Controversies in Inequality, that exposes looming policy decisions about poverty and inequality and develops innovative approaches to addressing them. We publish a new web and hardcopy magazine, titled Pathways, that asks the most prominent scholars in the field to weigh in on current policy issues on the basis of their research and scholarship. Every year, the Center also hosts an Elfenworks Visiting Scholar who is an expert in a particularly critical policy arena (e.g., immigration, health policy, tax policy), a scholar who then contributes to the magazine Pathways throughout the year, publishes a major policy statement in the Controversies in Inequality series, and delivers several public lectures at Stanford University and other area universities.

Training the next generation of scholars, policy analysts, and politicians

The typical discipline-based training of students is becoming increasingly provincial as research in poverty and inequality takes on a more deeply interdisciplinary cast. Although contemporary scholarship and policy analyis is now almost routinely interdisciplinary, most training remains rooted in single disciplines and fails to prepare future scholars and policy analysts well. The Center is developing a graduate public policy concentration that provides state of the art interdisciplinary training and that draws on faculty from all the cognate disciplines (esp. sociology, economics, political science). We also invite undergraduates to assist us in producing Pathways, the Center's magazine on poverty, inequality, and policy. These undergraduate research opportunities are supported in part by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE).

  • Explore the masters program in public policy (with a concentration in poverty and inequality)

Disseminating data, research, and policy analysis

It is a truism that dissemination is being revolutionized by the internet. The Center promises to be a new force in developing more powerful ways of disseminating knowledge about poverty and inequality in this post-internet world. We do so by offering a new archive of customized trend data, by building the premier outlet for working papers on poverty and inequality, by sponsoring the new Controversies In Inequality series and the new Pathways magazine, and by providing ever-accreting archives of innovative and classic audio and video content.

The Stanford University - Harvard Kennedy School
Collaboration for Poverty Research (CPR)

A new collaborative effort, bringing together faculty and scholars from Harvard and Stanford Universities, is being launched to develop and evaluate national policy on poverty and inequality in America. The Collaboration for Poverty Research (CPR) will tap the vast intellectual resources of both institutions, leveraging their combined convening power to focus attention and garner public support for new measures to attack and solve one of the most significant public problems of our time.
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Monitoring trends in poverty and inequality

The Center serves as a clearing house for high-quality trend data on poverty and inequality. The development of a comprehensive social indicator system for poverty and inequality will, we hope, prove to be a useful step in furthering science-based policy on poverty and inequality, just as a comprehensive system of economic indicators has been crucial in developing science-based strategies for manipulating economic outcomes. The Center offers a unique and powerful archive of trend data that allows users to customize time series of interest.




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