New St. Louis Fed Publication Offers Insights on Economic Equity

May 12, 2022

The Institute for Economic Equity promotes a more equitable economy for households and communities in the Eighth Federal Reserve DistrictThe Eighth District includes all of Arkansas, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western Kentucky, eastern Missouri, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee. and beyond. It pursues this mission in a variety of ways: convening community stakeholders, conducting policy-related research and publishing analysis of leading economic equity issues.

To support the analytical work, the Institute has launched a new publication, Economic Equity Insights. Released on Tuesday, the publication’s first article, “Arrival of Interstate Highway System Brought Housing Wealth, but to Whom?,” examines the impact of a new interstate highway on housing wealth in Hartford, Conn., during the 1960s and racial disparities in those gains.

Diverse Research Is Important for Economic Equity

As the great American thinker and writer Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” At the Institute, this formalized curiosity is the foundation on which we build our understanding of the barriers to a more equitable U.S. economy, as well as identify the possible tools with which communities might overcome those barriers.

The field of economics has long been well represented in research conducted at the St. Louis Fed. The Institute seeks to build on that track record of success by offering additional perspectives from scholars in disciplines such as sociology, psychology and criminal justice, to name a few. This interdisciplinary approach to research on economic equity acknowledges that obstacles to shared economic prosperity do not reside solely in the realm of economics.

“I learned early in my career that no single discipline can address the nation’s deep-rooted equity challenges,” said William M. Rodgers III, the Institute’s director. “They require engagement across areas of academic study.”

Making Conclusions from Rigorous Research More Accessible

While the academic community produces outstanding research on equity, the findings of that work don’t always reach Main Street. Too often this research isn’t accessible to wider audiences because of its technical nature and length.

The Institute’s new publication seeks to make academic research on equity, and the insights it can offer, more approachable.

“A primary goal of the series is to explain the Institute’s work to a broader audience,” Rodgers said.

To do this, Institute staff will jointly craft articles with researchers, helping to translate their work for general audiences. These articles will use plain language instead of technical jargon and employ graphics that visually capture takeaways; they will also be written in a manner that does justice to the nuance of the work but won’t require hours to read.

Notes and References

  1. The Eighth District includes all of Arkansas, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western Kentucky, eastern Missouri, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee.
About the Author
Lowell Ricketts
Lowell Ricketts

Lowell R. Ricketts is a data scientist for the Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. His research has covered topics including the racial wealth divide, growth in consumer debt, and the uneven financial returns on college educations. Read more about the author and his research.

Lowell Ricketts
Lowell Ricketts

Lowell R. Ricketts is a data scientist for the Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. His research has covered topics including the racial wealth divide, growth in consumer debt, and the uneven financial returns on college educations. Read more about the author and his research.

This blog offers relevant commentary, analysis, research and data from our economists and other St. Louis Fed experts. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the St. Louis Fed or Federal Reserve System.


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