The Center for Social Development is broadly engaged in designing and testing scalable social innovations that promote full inclusion, fair treatment and achievement of one’s full potential. We conduct applied transdisciplinary research that generates cutting-edge insights to inform policy and practice. Our research encompasses seven primary areas.

Financial Inclusion

Life in the 21st century requires financial skills and tools that were unnecessary in the cash economy of the 20th century, but many lack the proficiency or the sound financial products required to make informed decisions about their affairs. Broadening financial inclusion—access to financial knowledge and safe, affordable tools—has been a central objective in CSD’s work for over 25 years. Our financial inclusion projects fall into four categories: Asset Building in the United States, Global Asset Building, Financial Capability, and Financial Behaviors. Learn more…

Race, Inequality & Social Mobility

The Collaboration on Race, Inequality, and Social Mobility in America (CRISMA)  challenges and addresses the ways in which inequality and structural racism affect racial/ethnic disparities in achievement, life chances, social and economic mobility, and health in the United States. Learn more…

Social Justice

The United States is challenged to create a more equitable and just society. Fundamental rights have been eroded by a history of segregation, which is particularly evident today in the criminal justice system. Mass incarceration and the associated socioeconomic costs have dramatically shaped generations. Our research seeks policy and program breakthroughs that promote strategies for smart decarceration. Learn more…

Child & Youth Well-being

What do children and youth need to fully develop and successfully transition to adulthood? How can society intervene to counteract the effects of marginalization and disadvantage in young lives? Through applied research, CSD tests interventions that enhance opportunities for children and youth, particularly those from vulnerable communities, to succeed in life and contribute to society. Learn more…

Civic Engagement & Service

Service to the community, country or world—by children, teens, young adults, people in their working years, and retired older adults—is increasingly seen as a normal part of the life course and contributes to a strong, vibrant society. These contributions also foster employability, well-being, cross-group tolerance and cooperation. The center’s initiatives seek to understand, inform, test and expand opportunities for civic engagement and service worldwide. Learn more…

Environment & Social Development

How are individuals and communities affected by environmental factors such as polluted drinking water, redirected natural resources, and global climate change? Through its research, CSD’s Environment and Social Development initiative seeks to identify social vulnerabilities and devise innovative strategies for effective social adaptation to the profound physical, social, and economic effects of environmental upheaval. The initiative aims to contribute to a more environmentally sustainable world in which all people have fair and optimal opportunities to live full, healthy and productive lives. Learn more…

Thriving Communities

It is in everyone’s interest to have thriving communities where all families, including low- and moderate-income families, can lead reasonably stable lives. Families may struggle for access to basic resources for stability and to raise and educate their children. The center is engaged in multidisciplinary collaborations that explore policies and supports to create and sustain thriving communities. Learn more…