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We work with nonprofits and social entrepreneurs to combat bias at the top and bottom of the economic ladder, and disrupt harmful mindsets and narratives about poverty and inequality.

Economic Mobility

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Updating the American Dream

Efforts to combat poverty and inequality in the U.S. inevitably confront a major cultural barrier: a default focus on individualism and personal responsibility. Could the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic provide an opening for cultural change in how Americans think about people’s life chances and outcomes? With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SPARQ is examining the potential to update the American Dream, testing “aid-for-agency” mindsets and their potential to combat the stigmatization and racialization of poverty and inequality.

Bias in Financial Markets

Of the $69.1 trillion global financial assets under management, fewer than 1.3% are managed by women and people of color. In prior work, SPARQ found that professional asset allocators were more prone to reject venture capital funds led by highly qualified, Black-led teams. Partnering with the SPAN Lab and Illumen Capital, with support from the Hewlett Foundation and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Responsible Investing Initiative, SPARQ is examining the psychological and neural processes that could underpin these biased decision-making processes. These insights will enable us to develop targeted intervention strategies to mitigate racial bias in investment decision-making.

Measuring Mobility

Over 40 million people in the U.S. live in poverty. People and programs working to alleviate poverty often lack metrics for assessing mobility, and so they have difficulty detecting and scaling interventions that work. In collaboration with the Urban Institute and the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, SPARQ developed the Measuring Mobility Toolkit to provide researchers and practitioners with tools to measure key aspects of mobility. Learn more about the research behind the toolkit.

Image Credits

Stanford SALLIE | Astrid Westvang / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | / Shutterstock| Sawyer Sutton / Pexels