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 was 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 emerged 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.
As one way to demonstrate RAND’s commitment to advancing equity, several projects focused on racial and ethnic equity were funded in late 2020 by gifts from RAND supporters, income from operations, and independent research and development provisions of RAND’s contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers. This slate of RAND-initiated research is currently underway, addressing critical policy questions in education, environmental policy, health care, the justice system, military service members and veterans, and national security.
Redressing the Black-White Wealth Disparity
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, 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.
Mapping Environmental Racism
There are racial disparities in exposure to environmental hazards in the United States. This project examines historic structurally discriminatory policies and environmental health disparities to create an interactive visualization tool that can be used to promote environmental equity. Led by Jaime Madrigano and Benjamin Preston.
The health inequities exposed by COVID-19 underscored the importance of collecting race-stratified data to inform local policymakers. For the public health researchers trying to provide that, the pandemic also revealed some major pitfalls, especially about relying on open-source data.
Recent polls show that Black Americans are less willing than Americans of other races or ethnicities to be vaccinated for COVID-19. RAND researchers surveyed Black Americans to better understand the drivers of such hesitancy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disparate effect on African Americans and Latino groups. But it is unknown how aware the public is of these differences, and how the pandemic has changed perceptions of equity and access to health care.
Data from the California Health Interview Survey can facilitate the state, regional, and county tracking of key mental health indicators, including mental health services, service use, unmet need for services, and mental health-related functioning.
Understanding extant stress levels within a community can help inform how it responds to acute or traumatic events. This report presents a framework that could be used to develop a concept for determining the allostatic load on a community.
The number of Medicaid recipients receiving medication to treat opioid abuse increased sharply in the years after approval of a new drug, but the increase was smaller in poorer counties and areas with larger populations of black and Hispanic residents.
In a series of collaborative studies, RAND researchers sought to better understand urban congregations' capacity for HIV prevention and care, specifically in the areas of stigma reduction and HIV testing. This research brief outlines their findings.
Given the potential blowback to teaching anything related to race or gender, avoiding lessons on the experiences of women or people of color will be the path of least resistance in many schools. But discussing racism and sexism in a safe environment is crucial for students to become active, knowledgeable citizens.
Drawing on the RAND Corporation's American Educator Panels, this Data Note presents nationally representative teacher and principal survey results on several aspects of schooling during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In this report, the authors investigate the link between school context and school-provided college and career pathway supports to better understand potential causes of gaps in student postgraduation outcomes.
This study of Pittsburgh Public Schools' implementation of restorative practices represents one of the first randomized controlled trials of the effects of restorative practices on classroom and school climates and suspension rates.
In many states, motorists accused of excessive speeding can face either a criminal misdemeanor or a traffic infraction. Data on speeding violations in Virginia show large racial disparities in who is convicted of a misdemeanor.
This Perspective summarizes organizational, managerial, and procedural insights that RAND Project AIR FORCE has provided to Department of the Air Force leaders in recent years on critical diversity and personnel challenges facing the department.
In this report, researchers provide recommendations for assessing racial equity in U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster preparation, response, or recovery programs.
In this report, the authors propose a heuristic with two dimensions -- consent status and comparison type -- to determine levels of privacy and accuracy in face recognition technologies. They also identify privacy and bias concerns.
Scorecards are a common tool for public policy decisionmaking, but none highlight racial disparities in incarceration. We constructed county-level scorecards for racial disparities in incarceration rates for the NY State Permanent Commission on Sentencing.
The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) seeks to better reflect the demographic representation of the state of Colorado. This report offers an exploratory examination of how CSP's recruiting and selection policies and procedures relate to that objective.
Police use of force is at the forefront of public awareness in many countries. Body-worn videos (BWVs) have been proposed as a new way of reducing police use of force, as well as assaults against officers.
Examines the relative scarcity of minorities and women among senior leaders (i.e., colonel and above) in the uniformed Air Force, with the goal of identifying contributing factors and potential policy responses.
Amid recent tensions between law enforcement and the public, the author addresses key questions that must be answered to build the foundation for long-lasting mutual trust, especially given technological changes that are increasing transparency.
After conducting a comprehensive literature search, the authors undertook a meta-analysis to examine the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvement in employment after release from prison, and other outcomes.
Black Americans who reside in counties in the South where there was a higher number of lynchings from 1882 to 1930 have lower voter registration today, a likely sign of the lasting effects of historical racial animus.
This report examines how Americans' financial well-being has changed as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and how they are coping with the economic fallout. The data were collected through the RAND American Life Panel.
The 2018 Pittsburgh Equity Indicators report in enables the comparison of two years of data to measure change in disparities. The report includes information on equality scores for 2017 and 2018, as well as "change scores" between years.
This report is an examination of pathologies in social institutions' use of algorithmic decisionmaking processes. The primary focus is understanding how to evaluate the equitable use of algorithms across a range of specific applications.
Machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence influence many aspects of life today. This report identifies some of their shortcomings and associated policy risks and examines some approaches for combating these problems.
This report aims to understand the extent to which inequalities in opportunity and outcomes are related -- and the mechanisms that drive that relationship -- to help evaluate which policies have the most potential to level the playing field.