RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy

An illustration of people from diverse racial backgrounds. Image by Lyubov Ivanova / Getty Images

Illustration by Lyubov Ivanova / Getty Images

Against the backdrop of a pandemic that was already inflicting disproportionate physical and economic pain on communities of color, and an overdue reckoning with America's long history of systemic inequity and structural racism, the RAND Corporation launched the RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy in 2020.

The center has been funded by an initial $1 million from donor contributions and RAND’s own resources to support a growing portfolio of innovative, high-impact racial equity research and analysis at RAND, create a clearinghouse to help coordinate related efforts, and collaborate with organizations dedicated to advancing racial equity. Fundraising for the center is a priority in RAND’s Tomorrow Demands Today $400 million campaign.

“The evidence is clear regarding persistent racial inequities in the settings that define our daily lives—the neighborhood, the hospital, the classroom, and the U.S. criminal justice system,” said Michael D. Rich, president and CEO. “RAND has an obligation to address these problems, but it will not be enough to conduct more research. We will need to convert that research into action.”

The center emerges from an effort by RAND to take stock of where it stands on how policy analysis is designed, framed, executed and translated, and the role of factors related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The center’s blueprint was developed with the input of RAND staff, and the center is part of a larger commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization’s operations and external engagement.

Read more about the Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy

Projects in Progress

A broad slate of projects is underway aimed at centering racial and ethnic equity in policies and systems. These RAND-initiated projects cross disciplines and research areas, from social and economic policy to national security.

  • Closing the Wealth Gap by Race

    This effort is anchored through the lens of reparations, with a fresh look at policy options and as a broader concept that recognizes that the government has played an active role in creating black-white economic disparity, in particular, and therefore could play an active role in reducing it. Led by Kathryn Edwards and Jonathan Welburn.

  • Ensuring technology is Fair and Equitable Across All Sectors

    RAND is developing software and a toolkit for identifying biases within existing machine learning algorithms and for adjusting those algorithms’ output to minimize any racial inequities resulting from their use. This work extends across military and civilian sectors. Led by Irineo Cabreros and Joshua Snoke.

  • Creating Healthier Environments for All

    There are racial disparities in exposure to environmental hazards in the United States. We are identifying policy interventions and creating an interactive visualization tool that can be used to promote environmental equity. Led by Jaime Madrigano and Benjamin Preston.

  • Rooting Out Bias in the Educational System

    We are experimentally testing the extent to which principals’ racial biases are a root cause of racial discipline disparities among students of color. Led by Andrew McEachin and Rachel Perera.

Read the full list of projects

Multimedia

Research and Commentary

We've highlighted a small sample of RAND research and commentary below that addresses the challenge of racial equity from a variety of angles, and across multiple research disciplines.

Health and Well-Being

  • Laura Bogart, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Q&A

    Medical Mistrust Could Reduce Vaccine Uptake: Q&A with Laura Bogart

    Dec 23, 2020

    Laura Bogart, a senior behavioral scientist, studies how discrimination feeds medical mistrust and conspiracy beliefs. Her research on how mistrust became a barrier to treatment for Black Americans during the HIV epidemic sheds light on why some might question the safety of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Education

Security and Public Safety

  • Facial recognition on a mobile device, image by Irina Shi/Adobe Stock

    Report

    The Benefits and Risks of Face Recognition Technology

    May 14, 2020

    Face recognition technologies (FRTs) offer opportunities to improve identification efforts, but they also raise concerns about privacy and bias. Understanding the trade-offs between the utility and risks of FRTs is crucial for evaluating their adoption and implementation.

Economic Opportunity

RAND's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion