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.
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.
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.
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.
The Pittsburgh Hill/Homewood Research on Eating, Shopping, and Health study found that a new full-service supermarket in a food desert led to improvements in the quality of neighborhood residents' diets, though not in obesity rates.
This report synthesizes and analyzes available data regarding cancer-related outcomes among District of Columbia residents, highlighting key findings and data gaps across the continuum of cancer prevention, treatment, and outcomes.
The study identifies some of the greatest socioeconomic, health, safety, and school readiness disparities for boys and men of color in California and reviews strategies to reduce the disparities, including effective programs, practices, and policies.
Principals play a critical role in supporting America's 6.7 million students with disabilities. But most principals—especially those who lead schools that serve mostly students of color—believe that their schools could do a better job in this area.
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.
Many low-income children lack the same access to technology as their more-advantaged peers. This Perspective explores the role of early childhood education in ensuring that low-income children can access technology and learn how to use it.
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.
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.
Describes how law enforcement agencies can use barrier analysis, a method of assessment aimed at identifying potential obstacles to obtaining resources or participating in a program, to better understand and address the challenge of creating diversity in their workforces.
Discusses three lessons from the Military Leadership Diversity Commission that can inform police departments on issues related to workforce diversity. Gives specific suggestions on how to apply these lessons in the context of law enforcement.
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.