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Kate Cooney's research uses institutional theory to study the intersection of business and social sectors.  Current work focuses on the cross-country comparisons of new social business legal forms, corporate supply chain transparency, social return on investment methods and inclusive economic development strategies in the American city. To understand how hybrid organizations are shaped by commercial and institutional isomorphic pressures, she has studied commercialization in the nonprofit sector, social enterprise, workforce development programs, and the emergence of new social business legal forms. She has also written broadly about market based approaches to poverty alleviation the negotiation of competing institutional logics in social enterprise organizations. Projects underway include CitySCOPE podcast, a series examining inclusive economic development in American Cities (Listen to Season 1 Charting the Opportunity in Opportunity Zones) and a MacMillan Center funded grant titled Consumer Activism and Supply Chain Transparency: Anti-Slavery Movements in the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Prior to joining the faculty at Yale SOM, Dr. Cooney was on the faculty at Boston University teaching courses on nonprofit management, urban poverty and economic development, and community and organizational analysis. Kate Cooney currently serves on the Board of Directors of Dwight Hall at Yale, Center for Public Service and Justice.


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

Selected Works


  • Legitimation dynamics: How SROI could mobilize resources for new constituencies
    K. Cooney
    Evaluation and Program Planning
    Volume 64, pp 110-115

  • Work Integration Social Enterprises in the United States: Operating at the Nexus of Public Policy, Markets, and Community
    K. Cooney
    Nonprofit Policy Forum
    Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 435


Working Papers