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Economic Justice

People know the economy isn’t working, but not how it should work, or what we need to do to get there. Effective framing can turn passive unease into active support for economic justice.

In the 1980s, the conservative case for lower taxes was framed with a memorable metaphor: “trickle-down” economics. Four decades later, this frame is still with us.

The frames that are in play influence not just how people understand the economy, but the kinds of economic policies they support. If the economy is a pie, we have to slice it up. The topic quickly turns to who gets how much and who loses out. If it’s an invisible hand, best to leave it alone. But, FrameWorks research has found, if it’s a software program—we can see why and how we might reprogram it.

Language and ideas matter for major economic sectors, like housing, or contributors to economic wellbeing, like good neighborhoods and healthy, affordable food.

Explore how to frame a range of economic issues.

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Stories Matter: Field Frame Analysis on Immigration Reform

This Field Frame Analysis maps the competing narratives used by influential organizations to frame the debate on immigration and immigration reform.


The Proper Attitude: Challenges in Framing Higher Education Reform

This MessageMemo offers insights on how to frame higher education to boost support for broader, more equitable access and attainment.


Planning for Our Future: The Contribution of Simplifying Models to Conceptualizing Budgets and Taxes

This report presents "Forward Exchange" as an explanatory metaphor that prompts people to think about public budgets and taxes in new ways.


Every Picture Tells A Story: An Examination of Racialized Visuals and their Frame Effects

Is there a difference between images that explicitly depict Black children and visuals that more subtly cue the issue of race?


Like Mars to Venus: The Separate and Sketchy Worlds of Budgets and Taxes

This report uses cognitive interviews to investigate Americans’ thinking about budgets and taxes- both as separate issues and as they relate to each other.

Frame Testing Recommendations

How to Talk About Rural Issues

This Message Brief distills strategies for talking about rural health, rural economic development, and other rural issues.

Frame Testing Recommendations

Framing the Food System

This MessageMemo distills insights from a set of related studies. It recommends ways to communicate more effectively about the food system, obesity, and related issues.


Promoting a Realistic Understanding of Rural America

This report identifies promising explanatory strategies that help Americans think more productively about rural parts of the country.

Frame Testing Recommendations

Talking Rural Issues

This MessageMemo distills insights from a set of inter-related studies about how people think about rural issues. It offers time-tested recommendations for communicating more effectively about...


Making the Public Case for Transitional Jobs Programs in Minnesota

This Memo reports on findings from the FrameWorks Institute’s research on how Minnesotans think about transitional jobs programs, the problems they address and the constituencies they benefit.


Talking Transitional Work

This toolkit offers a collection of key documents from the FrameWorks Institute's research on how Minnesotans view transitional jobs programs, based on research conducted in that state in late...


Communities that Work: An Analysis of Qualitative Research Exploring Perceptions of Lifetrack Programs and Policies

This is the second in a series of reports designed by the FrameWorks Institute to explore public understanding of, and support for, transitional work experience programs. This particular phase of...