Institute on Assets and Social Policy

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IASP in the News

"America's Financial Divide: The Racial Breakdown of U.S. Wealth in Black and White" by Antonio Moore of Huff Post BlackVoices

"Outdated Credit Scoring Models Shut Minorities Out of Housing Market" by James H. Carr Guest Post at Forbes

"Minimum Wage in Mass. Is Rising—But Can You Live on It?" by Stephanie Leydon of WGBH Boston

click here to view articles or to see more

IASP is Hiring

Would you like to be a core member of a dynamic team?  Does our work excite you?  If you answered YES to both of those questions then you may be the team member that we are looking for.  IASP is looking for a dynamic individual excited about advancing IASP’s research and policy agenda in two areas: understanding the major drivers of the racial wealth gap and advancing our understanding of wealth mobility and economic security for families with children.  Click to read more.

What's New

APRIL 2015

Utilizing Economic Mobility to Advance our Understanding About How People and Communities Get Ahead

IASP Research Director, Tatjana Meschede, presented "Wealth Mobility of Families Raising Children in the 21st Century" at the Ninth Biennial Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference. Over the years, this unique event has aimed to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice on key issues facing the country. The 2015 conference seeks to inform a robust public conversation about economic mobility.

MARCH 2015

A Discussion About the Urgency of Addressing Wealth Inequality and Providing Opportunity for All 

IASP Director, Thomas Shapiro, was a panelist at the Boston Fed's Regional & Community Outreach team's Color of Wealth Summit. The panel discussion included a presentation on new findings on wealth inequality in the Boston metropolitan area.

New Tool Measures Impact on Public Policy Choices

Jointly, IASP and Dēmos released The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters. This brief explains the Racial Wealth AuditTM tool and how it can be used to evaluate the impact of housing, education, and labor markets on the wealth gap between white, black, and Latino households.


Race Today: A Symposium on Race in America

This day-long symposium brough a group of the nation’s most respected intellectuals on race, racial theory and racial inequality together to consider the troubling state of black life in America today.  IASP's Director, Thomas Shapiro, spoke on "Black Wealth/White Wealth: Hidden Costs of Being Black".


IASP Presents at LERA's ASSA/AEA Annual Meeting

Associate Director Janet Boguslaw, Senior Scientist Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson, Research Associate Jessica Santos and Graduate Research Associate Sara Chaganti spoke at the Labor and Employment Relations Association's ASSA/AEA Annual Meeting.  Janet and Sara presented "Beyond Wages: Structuring Inclusion in Wealth Building Employment Opportunities", Laurie presented "Elements of a Culturally Effective Health Care Organization", and Jessica spoke about "Employment Networks and Access to Good Jobs: Employment Policy for Social Relations".  LERA organized 27 sessions.  LERA is an umbrella organization where professionals interested in all aspects of labor and employment relations network to share ideas and learn about new developments, issues, and practices in the field. The American Economic Association encourages economic research, issues publication on economic subjects and encourages perfect freedom of economic discussions.

A Job Is More Than Income

Associate Director, Janet Boguslaw, and Graduate Research Assistant, Sara Chaganti, presented "A Job is More Than Income: The Role of Employment Capital in Producing Long-Term Financial Stability" at the Society for Social Work and Research conference "The Social and Behavioral Importance of Increased Longevity" in New Orleans, LA.  The presentation drew on recently published briefs in the Leveraging Mobility Series.  Click on the following link to learn more about the Society for Social Work and Research.


New Brief Asks "What Will It Take?"

IASP released Strengthening New Hampshire's Health Care Workforce: Strategies for Employers and Workforce Development Leaders, which presents key program and policy implications of research conducted through the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative.

Who Benefits from Federal Tax Subsidies?

IASP, PolicyLink, CFED, the Asset Funders Network, along with others hosted a webinar that explored who benefits from federal tax expenditures by income, race, ethnicity, and zip code.  The webinar featured new data and insights, along with a discussion about how tax policy proposals expand savings and investment opportunities for lower-income households and households of color.  The webinar will be posted here when it becomes available.

Phase One Report on Secure Jobs Initiative Released

After completing the first year evaluation of the Secure Jobs Initiative, IASP releases Secure Jobs, Secure Homes, Secure Families Phase One Outcomes of the Massachusetts Secure Jobs Pilot, which summarizes short-term employment and housing outcomes for Secure Jobs Phase One participants as well as participant, employer, trainer, and staff assessments of this new initiative. The Secure Jobs Initiative is designed to link homeless families who were participating in Massachusetts’ HomeBASE program to the resources and services they need to enter and sustain employment.

More What's New



May 6 - 1:00 pm EST

Please join AFN to hear from IASP's Associate Director Janet Boguslaw and Daria Sheehan from the Citi Foundation to discuss the strategic framework of asset development. Learn how it can impact sector-based strategies, and examples of how funders and community-based organizations are applying this strategic approach to effect greater social and economic impact. 

Register today!

The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters Webinar

May 7 - 1 pm EST

Do you know how your organization’s policy proposal will impact the racial wealth gap? Do you need evidence to fight for equity?  Please join IASP and Demos for an introduction to the Racial Wealth Audit™, a new tool that prepares advocates, policymakers, and analysts to proactively reduce the racial wealth gap through policy analysis and design.

As America becomes both a more diverse nation and a much more unequal one, public discussions of inequality often omit the racial and ethnic dimensions of economic divides. The Racial Wealth Audit™ will refocus those discussions and foster greater wealth equality by identifying how policy affects economic disparities. This framework creates new opportunities for policy to impact the wealth gap, and to avoid the kind of past mistakes that magnified the problem. This work promotes more informed policy and equity-based engagement from constituencies, advocates, organizations, and policymakers to embed analysis of racial wealth disparities as a routine feature of policymaking.

Speakers include:

  • Tom Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy and Director, Institute on Assets and Social Policy
  • Catherine Ruetschlin, Senior Policy Analyst at Demos
  • Anne Price, Managing Program Director and Chief Asset Building Officer at Insight Center for Community Economic Development 

Register Today!

AnnouncementIASP Research Director Lead Co-Author on Financial Supports Paper

On April 28, 2015, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released a Community Development Discussion Paper that examines the extent to which family financial transfers occur among Boston residents of color, as compared with national estimates.  Financial Resources in Kinship and Social Networks: Flow and Relationship to Household Wealth by Race and Ethnicity among Boston ResidentsAuthored by Tatjana Meschede, Research Director of Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy and a visiting scholar in the Bank’s Regional & Community Outreach department, the study analyzes new data collected for the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as part of the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey. The survey provides detailed information on assets and debts that allows analysis to be broken down by race, ethnicity, and country of origin for targeted groups.

Featured Projects

Paper Demonstrates the Advantages of Combining Public and Private Sector Asset Building

Click to Read ReportDeveloped by IASP and the Asset Funders Network, with the generous support of the Citi Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, Strategic Philanthropy: Integrating Investments in Asset Building offers compelling evidence and examples for achieving stronger and more sustainable outcomes by combining asset building with a variety of public and private sector community partners including employment, education, healthcare and affordable housing.

A promising approach for addressing these challenges is utilizing a framework that more effectively ties together and shapes the disparate policies, investment structures, practices, and stakeholders to leverage resources and impacts. The strategic framework of asset development helps to create an effective, integrated, and sustainable system, enabling families to move through safety nets into financial security and opportunity. Asset building integration shifts investment goals from remedying deficiencies to building on strengths by increasing capability, access, and opportunity. It enables foundations to integrate and expand the scope, scale, and long-term impact of their work, shifting the focus from families' vulnerabilities to their opportunities for success.

A Webinar is scheduled for May 6, 2015 at 1 pm EST.  Register Today.

For more information, please contact Janet Boguslaw at (781) 736-3738.

Researchers Design New Tool to Measure the Impact of Public Policy Choices on the Racial Wealth Gap 

Click to read Press Release 

A vast amount of research has focused on how public policy addresses economic disparities but there has not been a systematic analysis of the types of public policies that offer the greatest potential for reducing the racial wealth gap, until now.  In The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters, researchers from IASP and Dēmos collaboratively designed a new tool—the Racial Wealth Audit—to evaluate the impact of housing, education, and labor markets on the wealth gap between white, black, and Latino households.  This tool assesses how policies and outcomes in these areas affect the racial wealth gap. To greatly reduce the racial wealth gap, policymakers must confront its historic and policy root causes. 

For more information on the Racial Wealth AuditTM please contact Thomas Shapiro at (781) 736-4671; media inquires please contact Charity Adams at (781) 736-8689.

Report Reveals “No Significant Improvement” in Senior Security

Post-Recession Senior In-Security Remains HighIndicators such as growth in employment rates and gains in the construction and housing sectors signal that the national economy is on the road to recovery.  Yet, with the economy recovering there has been no significant improvement in senior security.  In the 7th brief in the Living Longer on Less series, Post-Recession Senior In-Security Remains High, IASP explores the obstacles seniors face and the pitfalls Policymakers should avoid.

For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Study Examines Wealth Creation and Wealth Management Among the Nation’s Wealthiest African Americans

Click to view reportCredit Suisse, in collaboration with IASP, released “Wealth Patterns Among the Top 5% of African Americans” highlighting the distinctive investing behaviors within the top 5% (as measured by net worth) of the African-American community.  The study showed that the top 5% of African Americans invest a greater proportion of their wealth in lower-volatility assets relative to a white comparison group, including insurance, savings bonds, and CDs.  Click here to read more

For more information, please contact Tatjana Meschede at (781) 736-8678.

Issue Brief Presents Program and Policy Implications of Workforce Diversity Research for Health Care Employers and Workforce Development Leaders in New Hampshire

Click to read reportWorkforce development initiatives traditionally focus on increasing access to education and training for low-income individuals.  IASP's research on the health care sector in New Hampshire indicates that a successful response to changes in demographics and the health care environment includes an increased focus on preparing the workplace, together with cutting-edge preparation of the workforce.  Strengthening New Hampshire's Health Care Workforce: Strategies for Employers and Workforce Development Leaders (link) presents four key strategies to enhance the workforce, including a new concept of inter-organizational pathways for advancement.  Developing a diverse health care workforce in order to deliver quality care to all will require the collaboration and investment of employers, educational institutions, workforce development agencies, and community organizations.

This brief represents the third publication in a series of research products developed by the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative funded by the U.S. HHS Administration for Children and Families.  For more information, contact Sandy Venner at (781) 736-8688.

New Report Examines the Disparities in Neighborhood Opportunity

Click to download the reportPeople are drawn to neighborhoods for various reasons—family ties, connections to friends, attachment to institutions—yet, the financial and social resources that a family has access to within these neighborhoods affects a family’s well-being and ability to gain social and economic mobility.  In “Location, Location, Location: The Role Neighborhoods Play in Family Wealth and Well-Being”, the Institute on Assets and Social Policy examines the disparities in neighborhood opportunity. This brief delineates between high opportunity and low opportunity neighborhoods, explains the disparities in neighborhood opportunity and reveals the reasons why families are sorted by race and class into different quality neighborhoods.

Drawing on longitudinal survey and interview data, this brief seeks to understand how families negotiate the diverse structure of neighborhood opportunity and explores their experiences of living in different types of neighborhoods.  National-level longitudinal quantitative data illustrates the consequences of where a family lives and highlights why families place so much emphasis on gaining access to the “right” neighborhood. 

The history of racial segregation in the United States has laid the foundation for ongoing neighborhood opportunity segregation.  Policy has helped structure the segregation of opportunity by race and class, and so policy clearly has a critical role to play in helping to create a fairer distribution of opportunity by neighborhood.

For more information, please contact Thomas Shapiro at (781) 736-4671

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