University of Michigan receives $4M to establish wealth inequality research center

Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics coming soon to U-M

Benefactors James and Cathleen Stone. (University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan has received a $4 million gift from the Stone Foundation to establish an interdisciplinary research hub that will focus on rising wealth inequality.

The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics will conduct cutting-edge research to understand how inequality impacts generations and what can be done to address it.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Stone Foundation to address one of the most important issues of our time,” Fabian Pfeffer, center founding director and associate professor of sociology at U-M said in a statement. “Before COVID arrived, wealth inequality in the United States had already reached its highest levels since World War II. Yet, we’re only beginning to understand the growing divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’

“The problems arising from extreme inequality are impacting many aspects of our lives, particularly those of the next generation. As researchers, we have to take action in a major way, and the generous gift from the Stone Foundation is allowing us to do just that.”

The Stone Center will become an interdisciplinary research hub for inequality experts on campus and around the world. Another goal of the center is to educate rising wealth and inequality scholars.

Researchers at the center will establish new public data models that will help a diverse group of policymakers and researchers address the intergenerational persistence of wealth inequality.

“Cathy and I have been concerned about growing economic inequality for decades. We both believe the study of wealth inequality is worthy of our greatest philanthropic commitment,” Jim Stone said in a statement. “We’re excited to support the talented research team at the University of Michigan on such an important endeavor.”

“The Stone Center will advance fundamental understanding of wealth inequality and its implications,” Kathleen Cagney, director of U-M’s Institute for Social Research said in a statement. “We’re tremendously grateful to James and Cathleen Stone for their generosity, which builds upon and strengthens ISR’s contributions to research on economic well-being.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.