From Jesse Rothstein, Director

Jesse Rothstein


On behalf of IRLE, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all visitors to our Web site, which provides comprehensive coverage of our activities, as well as extensive access to the full text of policy briefs, reports and other publications.

IRLE was founded in 1945 as the Institute for Industrial Relations under founding director Clark Kerr, later the Chancellor of UC Berkeley and then President of the University of California system.

IRLE supports high-quality, policy-relevant research on the entire range of employment and workplace issues on the UC Berkeley campus and beyond. Research is conducted by our affiliated faculty and students and by our professional staff, and encompasses a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Our common aim is to support policies to improve the lives of working people.

IRLE also has an education and outreach mission, which encompasses dissemination of recent research to other academics, to policymakers, and to the public, as well as training programs for California union leaders, community groups and business leaders.

To give you an overview, I've included below a brief summary of IRLE's research, education and outreach missions, our publications and activities, highlights from some of our program units, and services we provide to faculty at UC Berkeley.

The Affiliated Faculty

IRLE has faculty affiliates who study a wide range of workplace issues, using a variety of methodologies and disciplinary perspectives. Affiliates are drawn from many different departments and schools on the UC Berkeley campus, including the Departments of Sociology, Economics, Political Science, and Psychology, as well as the Schools of Public Policy, Business, Public Health, and Engineering.

IRLE supports faculty and student research on labor and employment issues in a number of ways. Research seminars are scheduled regularly during the academic year. IRLE also awards research grants to support relevant faculty and student research, sponsors occasional conferences, and provides project support and external funding administration as needed. Interested faculty members should contact Barbara Campbell for additional information. Our goal is to facilitate the administrative and bureaucratic requirements of your project, so that you can focus on the research.


IRLE is the institutional home for a number of centers and programs that conduct or support policy-relevant work on labor and employment topics.

The largest of these is the Center for Labor Research and Education (also known as "The Labor Center"). This is our principal outreach program. The Labor Center conducts research on the California workforce; offers workshops and training programs aimed at union, community, and business leaders; and provides UC Berkeley students with opportunities to learn about and become involved in labor-management issues.

Other IRLE programs include:

Please view the full list of programs.

Publications and Events

IRLE publishes its own studies, distributes faculty and student working papers, and publishes policy briefs, which offer succinct and highly focused analysis on key issues for policy makers and are a key vehicle for disseminating IRLE internal and faculty affiliate research to a broader community. IRLE also publishes a scholarly journal, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, which has consistently been ranked as a leading journal in the field. Please browse our publications.

IRLE sponsors a research seminar during the academic year. We also sponsor occasional conferences. Our recent conferences have included:

  • Reducing Inequality in a Sustainable World co-sponsored with the Institute for Urban and Regional Development)
  • Are Fair Wages Common Sense? Exploring Corporate Living Wage Programs. (co-sponsored with the Center for Responsible Business)
  • The 2014 All-California Labor Economics Conference

Connecting with IRLE

Please subscribe to our newsletter, with information about new IRLE publications and upcoming events. If you have any further questions about IRLE, its activities, or the services it provides, please e-mail us at

Jesse Rothstein
IRLE Director
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics