Inequality, Poverty, Power, and Social Justice (IPPSOJ)

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The Inequality, Poverty, Power, and Social Justice Initiative (IPPSOJ) is an initiative of F&M's Department of Economics. IPPSOJ provides an intellectual and communal framework that promotes critical multidisciplinary research, dialogue, and action on the causes and consequences of diverse forms of inequality and injustice as they are manifested in Lancaster and other cities and regions worldwide. The initiative emphasizes a collaborative relationship with Lancaster communities to explore how dynamics of power generate and reinforce economic and social exclusion, poverty and inequality. Activities are organized through the curriculum, student-faculty research, and a public forum.

Students can get involved in the initiative by taking a course, doing research through independent studies or summer projects with faculty, organizing a discussion, inviting a speaker, participating in a conference, or implementing any new ideas of their own. Funding for summer research is available through the F&M Committee on Grants, the Center for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster, and the economics department.


IPPSOJ Logo version 10-6-2023

Current Research Project: Labor Market Conditions in Southeastern Pennsylvania 

This research project, carried out in collaboration with Lancaster's Spanish American Civic Association (SACA), investigates labor market conditions for marginalized, poor and working-poor communities in Lancaster and neighboring counties by collecting data on income flows, traditional and new employment patterns, barriers to full paid-employment opportunities, and other relevant factors, disaggregated by race/ethnicity, gender, national origin, disability status, and other demographic characteristics. The project aims to identify gaps in existing data and to offer a critical analysis of the data and current understanding and representation of labor market conditions.



Affiliated Faculty and Staff

  • Linda Aleci, Department of Art and Art History, Professor
  • Antonio Callari, Department of Economics, Professor Emeritus, IPPSOJ Community Liaison
  • Patrick Fleming, Department of Economics, Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy
  • Zeshan Ismat, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, International Studies
  • Danish Khan, Department of Economics, Assistant Professor, IPPSOJ Co-Director
  • Tami Lantz, Department of Economics, Office Coordinator
  • Tony Maynard, Department of Economics, Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Leanne Roncolato, Department of Economics, Associate Professor
  • Adeem Suhail, Department of Anthropology, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
  • Troy Walters, Economic Research Associate, Philadelphia
  • Nicole Jones-Young, Department of Business, Organizations, and Society, Associate Professor
  • Eiman Zein-Elabdin, Department of Economics, Professor, IPPSOJ Co-Director

Affiliated Students

  • Sarwesh Acharya ’26
  • Lucas Cuervo ’24, Economics
  • Theza Friedman '24, Economics, Anthropology, International Studies
  • Shubham Jha ’26
  • Ritesh K.C. ’26
  • Linh Ha Nguyen ’25, Economics
  • Nancy Nguyen ’26
  • Alfee Rubayet ’24, Economics, Government
  • Apurva Subedi ’24, Economics, Mathematics, Music Performance

Courses Offered

  • Inequality, Power, and Justice (Zein-Elabdin)
  • Political Economy of Inequality (Khan)
  • Political Economy of Urban Deverlopment (Khan)
  • Race and Equality (Roncolato)
  • Public Policy, Poverty, and Human Capability (Fleming)


Public Forums

  • "The Resilience of Patriarchal Systems," the Annual Van Dyck Lecture, Professor Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts, October 26, 2022
  • “The Year 2050: Resources are Scarce and the World is Scared,” a student-faculty discussion with the Economics Club, Day of Dialogue, October 6, 2021.
  • “Sadie Alexander: Race, Economic Uncertainty, and the Rights of Citizenship,” the Annual Wayne K. Van Dyck lecture delivered by Nina Banks, Professor of Economics at Bucknell University, and President of the National Economic Association, November 4, 2021.

Research Projects

  • A Lancaster Social Justice Index – This project investigates the state of social justice in Lancaster based on indicators of poverty; urban planning and development; refugee resettlement and integration; and gender, racial, and environmental justice. Funded by the Center for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster, and the Committee on Grants. Contributing students: Gabriel Anthony-Kemp ’22, Gabriel Berdett Laila Carneiro ’20, Jillian Ireland ’21, Nithya Ramaswamy ’22, Lingfeng Shan ’21; Faculty advisors: Aleci, Callari, Zein-Elabdin.
  • A Lancaster Audit: Toward a Lancaster Moral Budget – This project, carried out in collaboration with Lancaster’s Put People First, PA, aims to produce Lancaster County and City budgets adapted from the Poor People’s Moral Budget issued by the National Poor People’s Campaign. Funded by the Center for Sustained Engaged with Lancaster, and the Economics Department. Contributing students: Jadaic Admir ’20, Margot Rathke ’20, Lingfeng Shan ’20, Isaac Yu ’20; Faculty advisors: Aleci, Callari.
  • Gentrification in the City of Lancaster, PA – Research on gentrification has focused almost exclusively on major metropolitan centers. Much less analysis has been done on small “legacy cities” like Lancaster. This project analyzes patterns of real estate activity and neighborhood change in key districts in Lancaster to sharpen the empirical and theoretical lens through which to examine processes of gentrification as they may have formed in the city over the past 15 years. The project also investigates the discursive construction of this phenomenon through an analysis of public discourse on gentrification. Contributing student: Davis Cook ’21; Faculty advisor: Aleci.

Students & Student Research

Student Research

Margot Rathke presents at the October 2109 Research Fair


Margot Rathke presents at the October 2109 Research Fair 

  • “How Power Works” – Margot Rathke ’20. This project examined linkages between institutional and economic patterns in Lancaster City and County. It investigated the major institutions with powers to develop, influence, and or enforce policies pertaining to poverty and economic development, whether these institutions are public, private, or public-private-partnerships working in policy making and implementation. Advisors: Callari, Zein-Elabdin.
  • “The Effect of Decision Timing to Avoid the Environmental Risk in Threshold Public Goods Games with Inequality: An Experimental Study” – Isaac Yu ’20. Independent Study F2019-S2020. Advisor: Roomets.
  • “Race and Gender of Adoption in Capitalist America” – Anna Schutt ’20. Independent Study S2020. Advisor: Roncolato.
  • “Social Justice Index: Healthcare in Lancaster” – Lingfeng Shan ’20. Independent Study S2020. Advisors: Callari, Zein-Elabdin.

Contributing and Affiliated Students during 2019-2020


Jadmir Admir '21

Business, Organizations, & Society; Economics

Gabriel Anthony-Kemp '22

American Studies

Haley Barge '22

Public Health (Biology)

Gabriel Berdett Laila Carneiro '20

Business, Organizations, & Society; Economics

Davis Cook '21

Economics, Physics

David Mazer '21


Vanessa Gonzalez '21


ZongPu (Birkin) Li '22


Jillian Ireland '21

Economics, Mathematics

Nithya Ramaswamy '22


Makaila Ranges '22

Joint Studies

Margot Rathke '20


Emily Ritchey '20

American Studies

Anna Schutt '20

Economics, Environmental Studies

Lingfeng Shan '20


Dante Wilson '23

Joint Studies