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Kate Cooney

Kate Cooney

Senior Lecturer in Social Enterprise and Management and Director of the Inclusive Economic Development Lab

Kate Cooney is a Senior Lecturer in Social Enterprise and Management and Founding Director of the Inclusive Economic Development Lab.

Kate Cooney's research uses institutional theory to study the intersection of business and social sectors. Current work focuses on the design mechanisms for social finance, inclusive economic development strategies in the American city, and data visualization and storytelling for the social sector.  She has studied commercialization in the nonprofit sector, hybrid organizational design models for social enterprise, and employer-linked workforce development programs.  She has expertise in ethnographic and qualitative research methods and community-engaged action research models. She teaches classes on community economic development in US Cities, including an award-winning interdisciplinary clinic on affordable housing co-taught with faculty from Yale Law School and Yale School of Architecture. For many years, Professor Cooney served on the Board of Directors of Dwight Hall at Yale, Center for Public Service and Justice.

In 2019, Dr. Cooney founded the Inclusive Economic Development Lab at the Yale School of Management. The IEDL aims to be a place where public officials, practitioners, academics, students, and engaged residents come together and learn about cutting-edge practices and scholarship on inclusive economic development. The shape of the work of the IEDL shifts each year in relationship to the theme, the local stakeholders, and the student expertise and interests but the goal each session is to develop insight, analysis, and models for action. Professor Cooney and her students in the IEDL together produce the CitySCOPE podcast. As of 2023, Dr. Cooney is a faculty affiliate for the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


  • PhD, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • MSW, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • BA, College of the Holy Cross


HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grant, subaward from Elm City Communities to conduct Resident and Neighborhood Assessments, 2023-2025.

SNF Fund for Integration of Theory and Practice at Yale Law School, to support Inclusive Economic Development Lab, 2023-2024.

Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, Mission Investments Company, award to conduct New Haven Equitable Entrepreneurship Landscape Analysis, 2021.

Articles and Reports


K. Cooney in Kevin Kearns and Wenjun Weing, (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Nonprofit Management, Leadership, and Governance. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Work Integration and Social Enterprises

K. Cooney, M. Nyssens, and M. O’Shaughnessy
Encyclopedia of the Social and Solidarity Economy. Published by Edward Elgar Publishing Limited in partnership with United Nations Interagency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE). 

New Haven Equitable Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Landscape Analysis

K. Cooney & M. Abraham 
Report for Community Foundation of New Haven Mission Investment Company. 

Legitimation dynamics: How SROI could mobilize resources for new constituencies

K. Cooney
Evaluation and program planning, vol. 64, pp. 110-115

Public Policies and Work Integration Social Enterprises: The Challenge of Institutionalization in a Neoliberal Era

K. Cooney, M. Nyssens, M. O’Shaughnessy, and J. Defourny
Nonprofit Policy Forum, issue 4, vol. 7, pp. 415

Work Integration Social Enterprises in the United States: Operating at the Nexus of Public Policy, Markets, and Community

K. Cooney
Nonprofit Policy Forum, issue 4, vol. 7, pp. 435

Social Return on Investment: A Case Study of JVS

K. Cooney and K. Lynch-Cerullo
Report prepared for Jewish Vocational Services, Greater Boston (JVS), issue November

Working Paper

Sectoral Advantage and Affordable Housing: Cross Sector versus Within Sector Production Processes

K. Cooney and K. Michels
Paper presentation at ARNOVA Conference, November 17-19, Orlando, FL