Advancing Equity, Building Wealth

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) is a research institute that advances economic opportunity and equity for individuals and families, particularly households of color and those kept out of the economic mainstream.

Our work furthers the understanding that assets and wealth are critical to household well-being and all families should have access to the resources and opportunities needed to participate fully in social and economic life. Working at the intersections of academia, policy, and practice, IASP partners with diverse communities to transform structures, policies, and narratives. Grounded in a social justice tradition, our research informs strategic action for racial and economic justice to achieve an inclusive, equitable society.

Recent Publications

Report Cover. Preparing People of Color for Leadership: An Evaluation of Management Leadership for Tomorrow's Career Prep Program. April, 2018. Dr. Susan Gershenfeld, Dr. Meg Lovejoy, Dr. Tatjana Meschede, Maria Fernanda Escobar, MPP.

MLT Accelerating Careers and Deepening Civic Engagement for Students of Color

Based on an extensive evaluation, researchers at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) found Management Leadership for Tomorrow's (MLT's) Career Prep program delivers college-to-career results for Students of Color, positioning them for greater economic and social mobility.

Report Cover: Innovations in Financial Capability: Culturally Responsive & Multigenerational Wealth Building Practices In Asian Pacific Islander (API) Communities

Asian-Pacific Islander Organizations at the Cutting Edge of Financial Capability

Through IASP's partnership with National CAPACD, we surveyed NCAPACD partners and other Native Hawaiian stakeholders about their financial capability services. We found that these API leaders are adopting innovative multigenerational and culturally responsive approaches to financial capability programming, but they want and need more supports for their work in this area.

Report cover: "Misdirected Investments: How the Mortgage Interest Deduction Drives Inequality and the Racial Wealth Gap" October 2017, a joint report by Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) and National Low Income Housing Coalition

Misdirected Investments: How the Mortgage Interest Deduction Drives Inequality and the Racial Wealth Gap

In partnership with NLIHC, we are thrilled to release a timely report, which shows that while African Americans and Hispanics each account for 13% of the nation’s households, they receive only 6% and 7% of the tax benefits from the mortgage interest deduction (MID). White households receive nearly 78% of the deduction’s benefits.

More Publications

While education is a factor in increasing incomes and wealth, recent research challenges the narrative that education is the key to reducing the racial wealth gap. According to our analysis, while black college graduates do have higher wealth than those without college degrees, the wealth gap between black and white college graduates remains vast. Furthermore, over the past 24 years, while college educated households saw a slight decrease in the black white income gap, their wealth disparities increased dramatically over the same time period.

Our Focus Areas

Statue of the goddess justice, blindfolded and holding scales

Racial Wealth and Economic Equity

Inequality is not merely about access to resources and assets, but rather, that similar accomplishments convert to financial gain differentially by race. Racial wealth gaps among younger adults grow dramatically over the life course. Our findings emphasize the importance of policy changes rather than behavioral changes in the broader effort to build an inclusive economy. 

A leather briefcase sitting on the ground

Work and Opportunity Pathways

For most Americans, work continues to be a primary source of income and identity. Yet work and wealth pathways that functioned for many in the past have shifted, and there is increasing awareness about patterns of exclusion that shape these paths. Our research focuses on the factors that break down the work and wealth pathways in our economy. 

keys on a ring with a keychain the shape of a house

Housing and Community Stability

Stable communities are critical for family well-being and economic security. Central to stable communities are housing stability and high-quality community-based resources. Our work focuses on a issues including housing and homelessness, housing-based asset building initiatives, and entrenched inequality in access to community resources. 

Our Work
A dam made of gray stones separates calm water from a grey sky

“While income is much like a river, which ebbs and flows with the environment, wealth is a reservoir, available to be drawn upon in times of need." – Thomas Shapiro, IASP Director