Areas of research

Browse publications by issue, author and type »


    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, …

    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.

    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.


    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.

    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.


    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 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.


    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 key 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.


    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 to depress economic growth and employment in the near term and hinder U.S. competitiveness in the long run. Our analysis from 2011 remains fundamentally unchanged: No economic good has come from sequestration cuts. Following are summaries of and links to numerous EPI analyses of the economic folly of the Budget Control Act, the “fiscal cliff,” and sequestration cuts.

    Trade and Globalization

    EPI’s research focuses on workers and measures how they are impacted by free trade, globalization, and the depression of wages borne from international agreements and policies.

    Unions and Labor Standards

    Strong unions and employees’ rights to organize foster a strong middle class, and all workers—union and non-union alike—benefit from high, effectively enforced labor standards.

    Wages, Incomes and Wealth

    EPI’s extensive work in this area is as critical as ever and focuses on sluggish wage growth in the U.S. labor market, income trends, and wealth disparities.