Valerie Wilson

Director, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy

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Valerie Rawlston Wilson (she/her) is a labor economist and Director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE), a nationally recognized source for expert reports and policy analyses on the economic condition of America’s people of color. As PREE Director, Wilson has worked to elevate EPI’s thought leadership on issues of racial and economic justice and expand PREE’s capacity to prescribe policy solutions that center racial equity. Prior to joining EPI, Wilson served as Vice President of Research at the National Urban League, where she played a pivotal role in the production of the organization’s annual signature publication, The State of Black America, and assisting the historic civil rights organization in shaping its national economic policy.   In 2022, she was President of the National Economics Association, an organization founded to promote the professional lives of black economists while expanding knowledge of economic issues of particular interest to communities of color. In 2023, she was elected to become a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.  

Throughout her career, Wilson has written extensively on various issues impacting racial economic inequality in the United States—including employment, wage, income and wealth disparities—and has also appeared in major print, television, and radio media.  Wilson has testified before Congress on racial disparities in unemployment and earnings and was keynote speaker for the regional Federal Reserve Banks’ series on Racism and the Economy: Focus on Employment.  She has twice served on National Academies panels charged with proposing ways to improve the EEOC’s ability to measure and collect pay information from U.S. employers in support of the agency’s responsibility to investigate charges of pay discrimination. In 2010, through the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, she was selected to deliver the keynote address at an event on Minority Economic Empowerment at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway.

Ph.D., Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill