Economy & Equity

As income inequality continues to rise, people are paying more attention to its effects on our country’s social, economic, and political systems. Discussions about ways to alleviate poverty, reduce inequity, and promote economic mobility are permeating policy circles, the media, and scholarly publications.

But economists, social scientists, experts, and advocates must also explore effective ways to communicate their ideas to the public. When discussing solutions, they need to consider the “pictures in people’s heads”—the beliefs and assumptions that the public uses to reason about poverty, disparities in economic outcomes, and inequality. Doing so will help build public support for evidence-based strategies to address these problems and strengthen society.

Recognizing this challenge, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation partnered with the FrameWorks Institute to answer the following questions: How do members of the public think about economic mobility and income inequality in the United States? What do they think about the role of community and neighborhood characteristics in shaping economic opportunity? And how can advocates best engage Americans in discussions about effective policies?

With answers to these questions, experts and advocates can create a “new narrative” that can reframe the public discourse around income inequality and drive meaningful and lasting change.

Research & Recommendations

Mixing It Up: Reframing Neighborhood Socioeconomic Diversity (2016). This comprehensive MessageMemo synthesizes FrameWorks research about socioeconomic mixing and makes recommendations that advocates and experts can use in their communications practices to create more integrated and inclusive communities. (Download the PDF)