Inclusion Economics conducts projects across our broad areas of engagement: Governance and Social Protection; Environmental Justice in an Era of Climate Change; and Building an Inclusive Society, through gender-inclusive opportunity, financial inclusion, and an inclusive Covid-19 recovery.
Governance and Social Protection
Political and economic structures are often designed to be inclusive, yet, in practice, they fail to provide citizens equitable access to services and adequate political representation. Our governance-focused research aims to understand what changes, both large and small, can help citizens hold leaders accountable, and to help those leaders provide equitable, reliable access to public goods and support the well-being of marginalized populations.
Environmental Justice in an Era of Climate Change
Inclusive societies protect current citizens’ well-being while ensuring our investments today build a sustainable future for later generations. Our environment-focused research asks how information and accountability tools can protect citizens from climate-related natural disasters and pollution, and more broadly, how to increase accountability for climate change mitigation in private and public sector entities.
Building an Inclusive Society:
In too many countries today, gender is the primary determinant of the economic opportunities available to women, and conservative views keep women out of the labor force, even though they want to work outside their homes. Similar norms constrain women from accessing new technology and other opportunities available to men. How can policy close these gender gaps and promote women’s active economic engagement? How do these norms evolve, and how can policy address them, more generally? Our research seeks to understand how to ensure women can stand on equal footing with men and the ways in which norms around gender and power change.
Recent initiatives have focused on ensuring poor citizens have access to formal financial institutions, but in many ways, these innovations have failed to have the transformative impacts they were once thought to guarantee. What financial inclusion initiatives enable the poor not simply to gain access to a bank account, but also to use them to improve their economic circumstances? And how should these programs – whether microfinance, digital cash transfers, or others – be designed to protect and empower traditionally marginalized groups? Our research aims to identify how financial inclusion can work for the poor, and design innovations that support the marginalized, particularly women.
Covid-19 Response and Recovery
The Covid-19 pandemic has done much more than jeopardized our health and economic growth: It has exposed underlying economic and social inequities, all while showcasing the precarity of economic stability for many around the world. Our Covid-19-focused research has generated timely information on the economic activities, safety net access, and well-being of vulnerable groups through the pandemic. Just as importantly, we aim to build on this work to point to how recovery efforts can not simply revert to the pre-pandemic status quo, but enable more inclusive economies and societies in the years to come.
How we work
Inclusion Economics research draws insights, frameworks, and approaches from multiple disciplines – economics, political science, and more – to answer questions central to building inclusive, accountable, and sustainable economies and societies. We conduct our research mainly through multi-year studies and policy engagements, and our primary research results come from this longer-term work.
We believe answering big questions on inclusion requires academic expertise and rigorous research, as well as the willingness to directly learn from those we seek to understand and benefit. In practice, this means that on any given day, Inclusion Economics staff may be attending academic lectures, analyzing data, leading policy roundtables for senior government officials, or interacting with frontline workers and citizens in rural villages across South Asia. While the core of our work is multi-year studies and policy engagements, we also aim to identify and distill relevant insights throughout the research process, particularly to provide policy stakeholders with information relevant to short-term decision-making needs.