Skip to main content

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, the link between higher education and the labor market; and entrepreneurship and the labor market (Related faculty: Bao, Gitterman, Hemelt, Lauen, Moulton, Rubalcaba)

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, Hsu)

Business and Public Policy; Entrepreneurship and Innovation

UNC Public Policy’s goals in this area is to facilitate research and teaching at the intersection of business, government, and society. The technological, political, economic, and institutional environment of business creates challenges for policymakers and society. Globalization, the rise of the digital economy, and the emergence of new industries and organizational forms, along with calls for (re)regulation and the need to alleviate inequality, require a firm grounding in economics, organization theory, and strategic management. New conceptual frameworks, theoretical advances, and rigorous empirical analysis are required to craft better strategies for integrating policy considerations into general managerial thinking. To that end, the research focus is on  various topics in, innovation, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, science and technology, and strategic management and their resulting implications on public policy.  (Related faculty: Bao, Feldman, Moulick)

Social Policy and Inequality and Social Entrepreneurship

UNC Public Policy research focuses on the ways that social policies ameliorate or exacerbate disparities within and between groups. Specific research expertise includes 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. This area also includes a research focus on social enterpreneurship (Related faculty: Gitterman, Gutierrez, Handa, Hemelt, Kreitzer, Moulick, Moulton, Rubalcaba)

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: Gitterman, Gutierrez, Handa, Kreitzer, MacKay, Meier, Rubalcaba)

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, Meier, Seim, Shadmehr, Sullivan)

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; Hsu, Meier, Rubalcaba, Seim, Shadmehr, Sullivan)