UNC Public Policy has developed particular strengths in a range of social-science based policy research:

Education and Labor Markets

UNC Public Policy research in the area of education policy includes evaluation of policies, programs, and schools in K–12 education, early childhood education, and postsecondary education. In addition, faculty interests include how educational policies affect inequality in student, teacher, and school outcomes as well as the educational consequences of migration. Other topics on labor markets in the U.S. include policies that impact working families, tax policies, self-employment, professional/occupational licensing, and the link between higher education and the labor market. (Related faculty: Gitterman, Hemelt, Lauen, Moulton)

Environment and Human Welfare

UNC Public Policy research in the area of environment and human welfare (including health) focuses on climate change, energy policy, and environmental and natural resource management policies in national, state and developing country contexts. (Related faculty: Handa, Jagger)

Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Science and Technology Policy

UNC Public Policy research in this area focuses on regional clustering of scientific knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship, the commercialization of academic research, and factors that promote technological change and economic growth. Moreover, the Research Triangle Park (RTP) is itself internationally recognized as a premier example of knowledge-based economic development. (Related faculty: Feldman)

Social Policy and Inequality

UNC Public Policy research focuses on the ways that social policies ameliorate or exacerbate disparities within and between groups. Specific research expertise include the U.S. social safety-net policies, needs and outcomes for immigrant youth and their families, innovative policy incentives (such as cash transfer incentives in developing countries), marriage, and women’s reproductive health and rights. This area also includes the study of politically relevant identity groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities groups, low-income individuals, women, members of LGBTQ* communities, and immigrants. (Related faculty: Gitterman, Handa, Hemelt, Kreitzer, Moulton, Smith)

Health Policy, Bioethics, and Human Rights

UNC Public Policy research in health policy— domestically and globally—includes a focus on mental health and substance abuse; maternal, reproductive, and infant health; AIDS and infectious disease control; environmental health; health insurance and managed care; and biomedical and behavioral research. Much of this research is focused on improving health behaviors and outcomes, reducing health inequalities, understanding the economic and institutional basis of effective policies, and exploring ethical and rights-based approaches to health. (Related faculty: Durrance, Gitterman, Handa, Kreitzer, MacKay, Meier)

International Development Policy

UNC Public Policy research in this area explores the interplay between economics, politics, and human rights approaches in shaping development policy. Specific topics include: the household and community determinants of human capital investment; the impact of social programs and policies on poverty, migration, and human development; household barriers to labor market participation; drivers of civil conflict; corruption; natural resource governance; poverty and environment trade-offs and synergies; energy poverty; aid accountability; public opinion regarding foreign direct investment; the human right to health. (Relevant faculty: Handa, Jagger, Meier, Sullivan, Zimmerman)

Global Conflict and Cooperation

UNC Public Policy research in this area includes challenges where the causes and consequences extend beyond the borders of any one country. Faculty study how effectively national governments, transnational organizations, and the institutions of global governance respond to these global issues. Specific areas of expertise include the impact of international/regional economic integration on labor standards; the effects of foreign economic and military aid; external interventions into domestic armed conflicts; how international law affects public health; international accountability and anti-corruption efforts; international migration; and international cooperation to address critical environmental issues. (Relevant faculty: Gitterman; Meier, Sullivan, Zimmerman)