TITLE: Economic Policy Institute

Access: http://www.epinet.org/

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute (or think tank) engaged in research, analysis, and advocacy. Its stated mission is "to provide high-quality research and education in order to promote a prosperous, fair, and sustainable economy." Frequently labeled "liberal" or "progressive" when referred to or quoted in the news media, EPI is especially well known for its research on issues related to working people and labor markets.

As is the case with many think tanks, its publications are often impossible to locate using reference tools such as indexes; this may cause them to be overlooked by students and other researchers who are not aware of EPI's presence on the Web.

EPI's five primary areas of research include "Living Standards & Labor Markets," "Government & The Economy," "Trade & Globalization," "Education," and "Sustainable Economics." Icons across the top of the home page provide access to research in these areas, including links to publications and a section called "Datazone," which includes statistics on topics such as the labor market, family earnings, wages and consumer prices. These statistics are available in either .pdf (for individual tables) or Microsoft Excel format. In all five research areas, EPI produces publications of various types, many of which are available on the site in full-text at no charge (an important exception is its best-known title, a biennial publication called The State of Working America, which appears to be available only in print).

Navigation of the EPI site is straightforward. A menu on the left side of the home page facilitates access to research content through the following links: "Search," "Publications," and "Web Features." All three of these are valuable tools for investigating the content of the EPI site. The "Search" and "Publications" features are simple and self-explanatory, and especially useful for topical searching. The "Web Features" section facilitates browsing for particular types of documents such as "Issue Guides," "Economic Snapshots," " Viewpoints, "Datazone," "Economic indicators," and "The Pulse."

With substantial free content, the EPI site is an appropriate and convenient resource for investigating facts and statistics, along with interpretation and policy recommendations. In addition, the center section of the home page is devoted to selected issues of current interest, with links to EPI documents; this feature makes the site useful for maintaining current awareness as well as investigating specific topics.

Cheryl Gunselman
Washington State University

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