The Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) is a nationwide network of organizations advancing an inclusive, worker-centered economy through state and local policy change and rigorous research.

Our member organizations work in cities and states throughout the country, conducting research, providing data analysis, and developing and advocating policies that confront the fundamental imbalances in the workplace to create an economy that works for all of us.

EARN members work with advocates, labor unions, grassroots organizations, and policymakers to ensure all Americans have the resources they need to build productive and secure lives. EARN groups advance policies that raise wages, improve benefits, support families, and advance racial, gender, and economic equity.

The EARN team at the Economic Policy Institute produces research and policy analysis to help its partners make the economic case for policies that would create a more worker-centered economy. We also bring our members together with grassroots organizations, unions, and other policy groups in a variety of ways to strategize about the research, policy, and organizing tools needed to win economic and racial justice. We organize and coordinate a learning community where members can raise and answer questions about their work, inform each other about new projects and campaigns, discuss best practices, disseminate research findings, and share resources.

Founded in 1998, EARN has nearly 60 state and local organizations in 43 states and the District of Columbia. EARN also partners closely with national research, organizing, and advocacy groups that support and collaborate with EARN groups in their work. Together with collaborating scholars, national organizations, and allied state and local groups representing affected communities, EARN partners constitute the core progressive research and policy infrastructure in the states for shaping and promoting an inclusive economy.

EARN is coordinated by its member organizations and staff at the Economic Policy Institute.

Interested in getting connected? Join our email list: https://earn.us/about/connect/

Our team

  • David Cooper, Director

    David Cooper

    David Cooper is director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a national network of nearly 60 state- and local-level policy research and advocacy organizations coordinated by the Economic Policy Institute. He assumed the leadership of EARN in October 2021, after serving as a senior economic analyst and EARN deputy director. As EARN director, Cooper works to expand the network’s reach and deepen its impact by strengthening partnerships between EARN groups and grassroots organizations, labor unions, and community advocates. He also expands EARN groups’ ability to provide rigorous analysis that centers people of color and is grounded in the real-world experiences of workers and families.

    Cooper has been a member of the EARN team at EPI since 2011, serving as an economic analyst before becoming senior analyst and deputy director.

    In his time with EARN, Cooper has overseen a vast expansion in the program’s research and analytical capacities—building up the data, research, and policy resources available to support EARN groups’ worker, racial, and gender justice work. He has guided EARN’s creation of new training programs, workshop series, state-level data tools, and a robust technical assistance infrastructure to assist policy researchers and advocates throughout the country. With support from the EARN team at EPI, EARN groups have shaped numerous state and local policy debates, providing timely and credible analyses that have helped secure critical pro-worker, equity-promoting policy reforms, such as higher minimum wages, expanded access to overtime, paid leave benefits, fair scheduling protections, and stronger collective bargaining rights.

    As part of EPI’s research team, Cooper worked on the minimum wage, wage theft, social insurance, and state labor markets, and his findings have been used by policymakers in city halls and statehouses across the country, as well as in Congress and the White House. His analyses on the impact of minimum wage laws have been instrumental in dozens of state and local minimum wage debates since 2011. He has testified in many states and cities on the challenges low-wage workers and low-income families face.

    Cooper has been interviewed and cited by numerous media, including the New York TimesWashington Post, and Wall Street Journal. He has appeared on many local and national news programs, including the Public Broadcasting Service’s “NewsHour,” CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” and American Public Media’s ”Marketplace.”

  • Anu Kumar, Communications Specialist

    Anu Kumar is the Communications Specialist for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team at EPI. She supports communications efforts to connect the network and highlight efforts from the state-level policy research and advocacy organizations that make up EARN. Kumar has supported communications and editorial work at several think tanks in Washington, D.C., including the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, and New America.

  • Chandra Childers, Senior Policy and Economic Analyst

    Chandra Childers is a Senior Policy and Economic Analyst with the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) at EPI.  Her work with EARN is primarily focused on supporting our state and local policy research and advocacy network in the Southern United States.  She is committed to economic justice and ensuring that all workers have a voice in their workplaces and that they experience real economic security independent of race, sex, or economic status.  Using an intersectional lens, her research focuses on employment, earnings, job quality, and worker power.

    Before joining the EARN team at EPI, Chandra was a Study Director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research where her work focused on occupational segregation, the gender wage gap, and Black, Hispanic, and Native American women’s access to good jobs that pay well, provide benefits, and ensure economic security for them, their families, and their communities.

  • Dave Kamper, Senior State Policy Coordinator

    Dave Kamper is senior state policy coordinator for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) at EPI. He believes that worker power and racial equity are necessary components to a healthy democracy. His work focuses on the Midwest, helping to bring together policy thinkers and grassroots leaders to build collaborative relationships that empower communities in America’s heartland to obtain the justice they deserve.

    Prior to joining EPI in 2021, Kamper worked for 20 years in the labor movement in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Minnesota, most recently for the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE). He is Board Chair of the New Brookwood Labor College and is part of the editorial collective of The Forge, a journal of organizing strategy and practice. He writes regularly on labor issues for progressive publications.

    Kamper lives in Minnesota with his wife, Joanne, a veterinarian who sometimes operates on lions and tigers.

  • Jennifer Sherer, Senior State Policy Coordinator, Worker Power Project

    Jennifer Sherer is senior state policy coordinator for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) Worker Power Project. Her work focuses on expanding the ability of working people to achieve racial, gender, and economic justice through organizing, collective bargaining, and public policies that promote worker voice.

    Prior to joining EPI in 2021, Sherer served as director of the University of Iowa Labor Center, leading statewide worker outreach, education, and leadership development programming in close partnership with labor unions and community organizations. As director, she coordinated interdisciplinary research and engagement; taught on a range of worker rights, gender and racial justice, and labor policy subjects; and led initiatives to extend labor education to new audiences. Her published work includes articles on wage theft, public-sector collective bargaining, women’s labor education, and working-class voters. While at the Labor Center, Sherer also directed the Iowa Labor History Oral Project, helped found the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, co-coordinated the Midwest School for Women Workers, and served on the boards of the Labor and Working Class History Society and Labor Studies Journal.

    Sherer first became active in the labor movement over 20 years ago as a local union officer, a project staff organizer for United Electrical Workers Local 896-COGS, and a leader of student anti-sweatshop campaigns while earning her PhD. She has since served as a local labor council delegate, volunteered in dozens of issue campaigns, and walked many picket lines. She is a board member of Common Good Iowa (formerly the Iowa Policy Project).

  • Lea Woods, Learning Community Organizer

    Lea Woods joined the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) at EPI in 2021 as a learning community organizer, coordinating conferences and convenings for state-level advocacy groups. Woods previously worked in fundraising and communications at nonprofits that promote women’s economic security and political power, including the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Center for Women’s Leadership. Additional political experience includes interning in a congressional office and working on a gubernatorial reelection campaign. Woods received her B.A. in Philosophy from Portland State University.

  • Marokey Sawo, State Economic Analyst

    Marokey Sawo joined EPI’s Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team as an economic analyst in 2021. She focuses on EARN-related research that is simultaneously informed by and seeks to address racial and gender disparities. Sawo was most recently a researcher at the Groundwork Collaborative, where she worked on a variety of economic and data analysis projects. She primarily focused on the economics of anti-austerity at the federal level as well as varying unemployment insurance issues and broader labor market conditions. Sawo previously worked at Futures and Options, a New York-based non-profit, under several roles. As a project manager, she spearheaded an organization-wide project to build a robust new Salesforce CRM database and develop processes to increase efficiency and capacity. As a data associate, she worked closely with the program director to audit existing data evaluation systems to better capture the organization’s impact in providing internship and career-readiness opportunities for New York City youth.

  • Sebastian Hickey, Research Assistant

    Sebastian Martinez Hickey joined the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team at EPI as a research assistant in 2021. Hickey supports the EARN team through data collection and analysis for reports, blogs, and testimony. In addition, he provides technical support to the state-level policy research and advocacy organizations that make up EARN. Prior to joining EPI, Hickey worked as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow to increase access to affordable housing and mental health services for people with low incomes. Hickey received his B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University.

Our national partners