fbpx Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy | Harvard Kennedy School

Why does social policy matter?

Through data-driven research, hands-on training, and collaborative public engagement, the Malcolm Wiener Center is advancing policy initiatives that empower people to solve the most urgent social challenges and questions of our times.


From opportunity gaps in education, to racial and gender disparities in employment, our interdisciplinary research explores the social and economic causes and effects of inequality and how sound policy can improve access for all.


Our research applies rigorous scholarship and insight to questions around labor markets and employment, creating pathways to economic mobility in the workforce and in society.


Reforming the criminal legal system aims to balance objectives of fairness, justice, and public safety. Our evidence-based research advances policy solutions that can break barriers and lead to systemic change.


Drastic inequalities in healthcare access and outcomes require us to confront this stark question. We bring expertise and data-driven inquiry to the goals of improving access and reducing disparities in the healthcare system.

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The Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management

The Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management draws from rigorous research as well as insights from practitioners and people from impacted communities to inform the development of fairer and more just criminal legal system policies, practices, and procedures.


The Stone Program

The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Program in Wealth Distribution, Inequality and Social Policy unites faculty, students, and researchers from across Harvard University and beyond to address the causes and consequences of wealth inequalities in different populations around the world.

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Reimagining the Economy

The Reimagining the Economy project explores local labor market, industrial, and development policies, combined with practitioner insights, to produce multidisciplinary scholarship to reshape narratives about how we achieve inclusive prosperity.

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Shift Project

The Shift Project, a joint project at Harvard Kennedy School and UCSF, examines the nature and consequences of precarious employment in the service sector with a focus on how policymakers and firms can improve job quality.

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Project on Workforce

The Project on Workforce is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project with Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education charting the course for a post-secondary system of the future that creates more and better pathways to economic mobility.


Health Inequality Lab

The Health Inequality Lab is a research group based at the Harvard Kennedy School dedicated to studying the economics of health inequality in the United States and around the world.

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Other Programs and Initiatives

Explore all of the programs, projects, and initiatives at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.


Global Advocacy Against Police Violence

Recent years have seen unprecedented protests against police violence around the world. A Forum event brought together advocates and activists from three continents for a conversation about civil-society-led strategies to combat police violence, with an introduction by Sandra Susan Smith. Watch the recording or read the HKS article to learn more.


Michela Carlana has received a multiyear European Research Council Starting Grant to support her research on education, inequalities, and stereotypes in Chile, Italy, and Finland. Her research will study the formation of stereotypes and test policies designed to mitigate educational inequalities.


Join the Program in Criminal Justice in exploring the theory and praxis behind abolition of the prison industrial complex through their Fall 2023 Abolitionist Politics, Practices, and Horizons speaker series. Their next discussion, Criminal Courts and the Abolition Movement, will be on October 11. 


New research from Raj Chetty, David Deming, and John Friedman finds that highly selective private colleges in America could significantly increase socioeconomic diversity among the country’s leaders by changing their admissions practices. Deming's blog discusses the implications of their research.

Faculty Focus

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This fall, Deirdre Bloome is teaching “From the Bottom to the Top: Unequal Opportunities and Unequal Outcomes Across Generations.” The course explores how people often remain stuck in the same social and economic positions as their parents—and how this lack of mobility has major consequences for individuals and whole societies. 

David Deming’s New Blog “Forked Lightning”
News and opinion on education, economics, and the future of work.

Questions We Explore

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