Racial Equity and Economic Development

Economic development tools can promote racial equity and other forms of social justice. But too often they merely enrich large, wealthy corporations and politically connected individuals. That’s because subsidies disproportionately benefit large corporations, and because most corporate shares are held by wealthy white people.

These injustices are revealed in multiple ways in our work when we apply a racial equity lens to economic development. Our studies, for instance, document how school districts comprised of low-income students of color lose the most to corporate tax breaks and how subsidies fund suburban sprawl that moves jobs out of communities of color. 

Addressing these problems, we have for more than 20 years been proposing policy reforms to reverse these harms and drive reinvestment to communities most harmed by previous exclusionary practices.

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