The Inequality Initiative is a series of programs and projects that bring innovative social science analysis to bear on our understanding of the roots and consequences of unequal participation in political, economic, and social systems across the globe. The Council launched this endeavor to give greater centrality and visibility to its work in this area, including efforts to support social research and analysis, contribute to insights that inform solutions, disseminate research in varied fora, and cultivate scholars of social inequality who will question past approaches and promote new thinking.

Our Work


Date: October 28, 2020

The SSRC and SAGE Publishing are pleased to present the first of a series of conversations—REIMAGINING SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS—a public forum focused on the work of cultivating equitable, anti-racist social institutions. The first event in the series, REIMAGINING SCHOOLS, featured several prominent experts of inequality in higher education.

Date: October 14, 2020

In an event presented in collaboration with the Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences, panelists consider why racial inequality persists and discuss social policy remedies to promote racial equality and the flourishing of Black Americans.

Date: September 30, 2020

ACLS president Joy Connolly and SSRC president Alondra Nelson co-moderated a virtual discussion on race and racism, featuring Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race, and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Bianca Williams, associate professor of anthropology at CUNY Graduate Center.

Selected Publications

A Decade Undone: Youth Disconnection in the Age of Coronavirus

A report from the SSRC’s Measure of America program presents the latest available data on America’s disconnected young people—youth ages 16–24 who are neither working nor in school—with analysis on the impact of Covid-19.

Identity Politics: A Report on a Media & Democracy Workshop on Race, Gender, and Toxicity Online

Media & Democracy program codirector Mike Miller highlights key insights from the event, including the ways in which digital media can reproduce racist and sexist structures of power, and how influential stakeholders—journalists, developers, and academics—can and should address its increasing toxicity.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Challenge to Northern Liberalism and US Social Science

Building on her presentation at the SSRC’s event on Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemma, Jeanne Theoharis draws attention to Myrdal’s blind spot for Northern liberals and how the broader social sciences’ language of pathology and culture were employed by Northern elites.

Race & Capitalism

How does contemporary capitalism, and the inequalities it produces, intersect with race? This essay series examines the interrelationship between race and capitalism through a range of lenses and geographies, from resource extraction in the Caribbean and Africa to the school-to-prison pipeline in the United States.

Reading Racial Conflict

Racial conflict and mobilization around demands for racial justice have increasingly commanded public and scholarly attention in the US and elsewhere. In this series, scholars read the present moment through a “classic” work that sheds light on how economic, political, and racial inequalities shape each other.

Society after Pandemic

The question of how to reopen our societies in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic poses special questions for social researchers. How do the social conditions exposed, exacerbated, and created by the novel coronavirus demand that we substantively rethink our ideas of society and, therefore, some of the prevailing assumptions of social science?