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Last Updated: 01/10/23

ProfitWise News and Views

Articles on community and economic development news, trends, policy, and research.

Most Recent Articles

Evidence of Racial Discrimination in the $1.4 Trillion Auto Loan Market

Jonathan Lanning

In this article, I summarize my research paper documenting that interest rates on auto loans arranged by dealers are higher for Black (and other non-White) borrowers than for their White counterparts. My work finds evidence that auto dealers charge Black borrowers relatively higher interest rates on these loans because of racial prejudice.

Why Are Millions of Dollars in Tax Refunds Going Unclaimed?

Nathan Anderson, Kartik Athreya, Jason Keller, Roisin McCord

Each spring, millions of Americans file federal income tax returns and receive tax refunds. For many, these refunds are attributable, in large part, to two refundable tax credits—the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC). By reducing taxes and providing tax refunds, these credits help families pay for essentials like food, clothing, and housing. The EITC and CTC also allow them to keep more of their take-home pay. There is broad consensus that among major federal assistance programs, the EITC and CTC are among the most successful at alleviating child poverty, and they have also been shown to improve infant health, maternal health, children’s cognitive outcomes, educational attainment, and employment for single mothers.

Harvesting the Past: Lessons for Today's Community Development Leaders

Joel Bookman and Andrew Mooney 

The community development field faces new and unprecedented challenges stemming from the pandemic and stay-at-home policies. Indeed, the pandemic laid bare longstanding issues around structural racism, economic inequality, and limited social mobility in our most vulnerable communities. The fundamentals of community-building offer insights, and past redevelopment interventions that harmonized diverse actors and resources can inform current efforts to bring about a more inclusive recovery. As an example, the New Communities Program (NCP) provided a framework for the redevelopment of many Chicago neighborhoods over a decade between 2001 and 2011. This article explores the lessons learned from the NCP, as well as the durable gains—tangible and intangible—experienced by NCP communities.

How Ford Motor’s Equal Pay Policies Reduced Overall Labor Market Discrimination

Jonathan Lanning

In a paper forthcoming in the Journal of Labor Economics, my co-author and I estimate the impact of Ford Motor Company’s wage policies using data from the first half of the twentieth century. We find that equal pay policies at Ford substantially reduced the gap in wages earned by Black workers compared with White workers not only at Ford, but throughout the Southeast Michigan region. By 1947, the regional wage gap was around half what it would have been absent Ford’s equal pay policies. In this article, I summarize our work and highlight some important findings.

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