Areas of research

Browse publications by issue, author and type »


    About EPI


    Affordable Care Act

    African Americans

    American Indians


    Introducing | A comprehensive online library of research and media coverage on the labor conditions of Apple’s factory workers. Visit the site » The decades-long trend of globalization has largely served to advance the interests of corporations and highly paid professionals, …

    Asian Americans


    Budget, Taxes and Public Investment

    EPI’s work on federal fiscal policy analyzes revenues, spending and deficits, but always within the context of the overall economy. EPI believes that the federal budget is the embodiment of our nation’s priorities, but recognizes that the state of budget balance is simply a tool to meet larger economic goals, not an end-goal in itself.

    Carbon tax


    China trade

    Collective bargaining and right to organize


    Currency policies

    Deficits and debt

    Early childhood

    Economic Growth

    EPI’s research on economic growth assesses how policymaking and economic institutions either help or hinder efforts to insure that the U.S. economy is operating at full employment and to generate sustainable growth in average living standards as rapidly as possible.

    Economic inequality

    Economic mobility


    EPI documents impacts of social and economic inequality on student achievement, and suggests policies, within school and out, to narrow outcome gaps between middle class and disadvantaged students. EPI research refutes false assumptions behind politically inspired attacks on public education, teachers, and their unions.

    Educational inequity

    Employer coverage



    Financial globalization

    Financial markets



    Great Recession

    Green Economics

    EPI’s research in this arena focuses on the role that public investment, regulation, and tax policy play in making the economy more sustainable and equitable.

    Guest workers


    EPI’s Health Policy Research team analyzes the U.S. health care system through the lens of low- and moderate income families’ living standards, with special attention to employer-sponsored health insurance, the burden of health costs, and disparities in access and outcomes.



    EPI proposes reforms that would allow the immigration system to respond and adjust to the shifting needs of the U.S. labor market while improving wages and safeguarding labor standards for American and immigrant workers.

    Income and wages

    Inequality and Poverty

    As the United States recovers from the Great Recession, EPI’s research in this area examines the increasing levels of economic inequality in connection with decreasing levels of economic mobility and rising levels of poverty.



    Job creation

    Job openings and hiring


    Jobs and

    Jobs and Unemployment

    EPI’s thorough research in this area is as critical as ever and focuses on understanding the intricacies and impact of the slow recovery in the U.S. labor market, including our persistent high unemployment, near-record long-term unemployment, mass underemployment, and weak labor force participation.

    Labor force participation






    Minimum Wage

    The minimum wage is a critical labor standard meant to ensure a fair wage for this country’s lowest paid workers.  EPI researchers have examined how the minimum wage affects workers and the economy, who benefits from the minimum wage, and how the declining value of the federal minimum wage over time has contributed to the growth in U.S. income inequality.


    Monetary policy and the Federal Reserve


    Occupy Wall Street


    EPI research has shown that one reason Americans’ paychecks are not keeping pace with their productivity is that millions of lower-middle-class and even middle-class workers are working overtime but not getting paid for it. The regulations that require employers to pay workers time-and-a-half if they work overtime are out of date. President Obama directed the Labor Department to modernize the rules, and a formal rulemaking process will begin in February.


    Paid sick leave


    Public Investment

    Public-sector workers

    Race and Ethnicity

    EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy works to advance policies that ensure racial and ethnic minorities participate fully and benefit equitably as workers in the American economy.

    Racial segregation

    Raising America’s Pay

    EPI’s efforts to raise the profile of wage issues and generate ideas for stimulating wage growth are overseen by an advisory board of eminent policymakers, academics, policy experts, and civic engagement leaders. See the list of board members.



    The debate over the effect of regulatory changes on employment has intensified in the wake of the Great Recession and the still-high levels of unemployment that are its legacy. But assertions that government regulations are holding back the economy ignore the roots of our economy’s problems, namely the collapse of the housing and financial sectors and inadequate demand. EPI research debunks claims that regulations impede job creation, finding that they can create jobs and confer other critical benefits that outweigh costs. This work is critical to fighting attempts to roll back laws that protect the environment and guarantee worker protections.


    EPI’s retirement program examines the inequities in the current system and promotes initiatives that protect Social Security and lead to universal, secure and adequate retirement policies.

    Right to work

    Misleadingly named right-to-work (RTW) laws do not, as some unfamiliar with the term may assume, entail any guarantee of employment for people ready and willing to go to work. Rather, by making it harder for workers’ organizations to sustain themselves …


    In August 2011, EPI published a report, Debt ceiling deal threatens deep job losses and lower long-run economic growth (Issue Brief #331), showing that the premature austerity, deep cuts to public investment, and other features of the Budget Control Act (BCA) threatened …

    Social Security

    State of Working America


    Stimulus/stabilization policy

    Student achievement

    Supreme Court

    SWA Appendix

    SWA Income

    SWA Introduction

    SWA Jobs

    SWA Mobility

    SWA Poverty

    SWA Productivity

    SWA Wages

    SWA Wealth


    Teacher pay

    Teacher quality


    Trade and Globalization

    Trade and globalization policies have major effects on the wages and incomes of American workers and on the vitality of American industries such as manufacturing. EPI research identifies the economic benefits accruing to the nation, states, and congressional districts from negotiating better trade agreements and curbing currency manipulation and other unfair trade practices.

    Trade deficit



    Unemployment insurance

    Unions and Labor Standards

    Strong unions and employee organizing rights foster a vibrant middle class because the protections, rights, and wages that unions secure affect union and nonunion workers alike. Unfortunately, eroded labor standards, weakening unions, changing norms, guestworker policies that undercut wages, and monetary policies that prioritize controlling inflation over lowering unemployment have helped depress wages and erode living standards for all workers. EPI monitors factors that affect American work lives, including unpaid overtime, wage theft, the minimum wage, immigration laws, and collective bargaining rights.


    Wage hour and safety laws


    Wages, Incomes and Wealth

    Ensuring that economic growth benefits hard-working Americans in the form of higher wages and rising living standards is the central economic challenge of our time. Unfortunately, wages for most workers grew exceptionally slowly between 1979 and 2012, despite productivity—which essentially measures the economy’s potential for providing rising living standards for all—rising 64 percent. In other words, most Americans, even those with college degrees, are treading water—despite working more productively (and being better educated) than ever. EPI research demonstrates that wage stagnation, weak income growth, and wealth disparities can be traced to policy decisions that have eroded the bargaining power of low- and middle-wage workers.


    What we read today


    Young workers