RAND Racial Equity Policy Projects

RAND’s work on racial equity policy is growing and extends across disciplines and research areas. 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.

Racial Equity Policy Research: Q&A Series

Projects in Progress

  • Addressing Racial Disparities in the Military Justice System

    This project investigates why Black service members in the U.S. Air Force are more likely to face disciplinary action and the consequences of these disparities. Led by Shamena Anwar and Nelson Lim.

  • Assessing the Impact of Military Service on the Lives of Black Americans

    Using national data, this project examines the downstream consequences of military service on the lives of Black service members and veterans, including both the positive and negative effects on health, economic, and/or psychosocial factors. Led by Tepring Piquado, Stephanie Holliday, Samantha McBirney, and Thomas Trail.

  • 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.

  • Creating Operational Advantage Through Military Diversity

    This project explores how greater diversity in the armed forces—including diversity in race and ethnicity, gender, physical ability, and skill set—can create strategic opportunities for military organizations. Led by Ben Caves and Marek Posard.

  • 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.
    Q&A with Jaime Madrigano and Benjamin Preston »

  • Analytic Approaches for Diversity Research

    This project, designed for RAND researchers, explores and describes analytic techniques in diversity research, including how to appropriately create benchmarks to inform social disparities, the use of equivalent groupings to formally test hypotheses of racial bias, and the use of model interpretation and disaggregation to inform systematic mechanisms of bias that may be influenced by policy levers. Led by Lou Mariano.

  • 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.

  • Illustrating the Compound Effect of Racism and Bias

    To demonstrate the counterintuitive way that even apparently small amounts of racism or bias can compound over time to create significant disparities in outcomes, RAND is developing a web-based tool that illustrates this effect. Led by James Anderson, Heather Gomez-Bendaña and Rachel Perera.
    Q&A with James Anderson, Rachel Perera, and Heather Gomez-Bendaña »

  • Minority-Owned Businesses and the Defense Industrial Base

    This project fuses disparate data sources on federal contracting and interfirm supply chain connections to build an authoritative database of minority business ownership in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). Led by Jon Schmid and Jonathan Welburn.

  • Addressing Vaccine Confidence Among Black Americans

    This project involves community-engaged research to determine trusted sources and messages for COVID-19 information for Black Americans, who are more likely to be diagnosed with, and to die from Covid-19. Led by Laura Bogart and Lu Dong.

  • Preventing Identity-Based Violence

    This project leverages two of RAND's distinct capabilities—RAND-LEX and the Dark Web Observatory—to identify catalysts for radicalization within extremist groups. Led by Heather Williams and Alexandra Evans.

  • Promoting Positive Outcomes for Incarcerated Parents and their Children

    In this effort, RAND researchers investigate prison-based programs for incarcerated parents that can promote positive outcomes for both the parents and their minor children and reduce racial inequities. Led by Dionne Barnes-Proby, Celia Gomez, and Monica Williams.
    Q&A with Dionne Barnes-Proby, Celia Gomez, and Monica Williams »

  • Supporting Equity-Focused Program Evaluation

    In an effort to enhance RAND’s research on equity, this project is creating a tool providing program evaluators with the resources needed to measure and contextualize systemic or structural inequities in the programs and services offered in communities. Led by Stephanie Brooks Holliday and Dionne Barnes-Proby.

  • Identifying Information Gaps in Addressing Anti-Asian Racism

    This project team is engaging with national and local community-based and advocacy-oriented agencies to identify informational gaps in current and future efforts to address anti-Asian racism, types of data needed to fill these gaps, and mitigating strategies for anti-Asian racism. Led by Lulu Dong, Jennifer Bouey, Douglas Yeung, and Peggy Chen.
    Q&A with Lu Dong and Jennifer Bouey »