Student Research Awardees

2021- 22 Awardees

Livia Alfonsi

Ph.D. Candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley

Project: The Shecession of 2020: Evidence from Uganda

Livia Alfonsi is an applied micro-economist with research at the intersection of Development, Labor, and Behavioral economics. Her main strand of research focuses on labor market frictions in low-income countries. In separate work, she also studies how human capital investments and social networks affect individual preferences and behaviors.


Keith Brower Brown

Ph.D. Candidate in Geography at UC Berkeley

Project: Solar Power and Worker Power in California’s San Joaquin Valley

Keith Brower Brown is a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at UC Berkeley. Drawing on his past work in California’s clean energy sector and labor organizing roles, his dissertation researches how a boom in unionized solar and high-speed rail jobs in the San Joaquin Valley has shifted labor conditions and worker power. Along with IRLE, Keith’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the UC Berkeley Latinxs & The Environment Initiative, and the journal Human Geography. His prior work has been published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, New Geographies, Antipode, Climate & Development, and Labor Notes.


Derek Brown

Ph.D. Candidate in Management of Organizations at UC Berkeley

Project: Equality is Misperceived as Harmful to Advantaged Groups

Derek Brown is a Ph.D. student in Management of Organizations at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Derek explores the psychological barriers that curb efforts to reduce inequality within organizations and society. In particular, he studies the ways that diversity, prejudice, nonverbal behavior, and hierarchy shape how we interact with others and the increasingly diverse society around us.


Luisa Cefala

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at UC Berkeley

Project: The Causes and Consequences of Persistent Over-Optimism among Job-Seekers

Combining insights from behavioral economics to labor economics, my research agenda focuses on understanding the determinants of job search in low-income countries, where informal labor markets are widespread. In a current project, I explore the causes of persistent over-optimism in job finding probability among casual workers in India. I hope that my research can contribute to our understanding of how poverty and its interplay with (lack of) institutions can affect workers’ decision-making.


Justin Germain

Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at UC Berkeley

Project: On the Road Again: Spatial Barriers to Employment Among the Rural Poor

Justin Germain is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Justin’s research centers around the ways that physical space influences social and economic inequality, and is working with IRLE to understand how transportation barriers affect employment opportunities for low-income families living in rural areas.


Arlyn Moreno Luna

Ph.D. Candidate in Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender at UC Berkeley

Project: Migrant Workers’ Attitudes Toward Early Childhood Care

Arlyn Moreno Luna is a doctoral student in the Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. Her scholarly interests include access and equity to early childhood education for migrant workers, barriers that migrant workers face as they access early childhood education, and access and equity in higher education for first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students. Arlyn was born and raised in Mexico, migrating to the U.S. as a teen. She received her Bachelor of Science in BioResource Research in 2013 (with Honors) and a Master of Public Policy, with a focus in Social Justice in 2015 from Oregon State University. In 2021, Arlyn received a Master of Arts in Education from the University of California, Berkeley.


Cristobal Otero

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at UC Berkeley

Project: The Effects of Managers on Public Health Outcomes: Evidence from Chile

Cristóbal is a PhD Candidate in Economics at UC Berkeley. He holds a BA and an MA in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He also obtained an MSc in Philosophy of the Social Sciences from the London School of Economics. His fields of interest are labor and public economics, and more broadly public policy. His website can be found here.


Zabdi Salazar

Ph.D. Candidate in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at UC Berkeley

Project: Immigration Judges & Bureaucracy: The Impact of Case Quotas

Zabdi Salazar is a rising third-year student in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) PhD program at UC Berkeley. Her research interests include refugee and asylum law, immigration law, sociology of law, and administrative law. Her current project explores the impact of a case quota policy on US immigration judges. The study will use a difference-in-difference (DiD) approach to examine how the fiscal year (FY) 2019 performance standards, particularly the requirement for judges to complete 700 cases each year, impacted judicial behavior and case outcomes.


Alex Stephenson

Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at UC Berkeley

Project: The Effect of Knowledge of Racial Covenants on Attitudes towards Present-Day Redistribution

Alex Stephenson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science, where he researches the effects of past discrimination on modern political and economic inclusion, order, and violence. He is also interested in developing methods and tools for causal inference. His research supported by IRLE experimentally assesses whether learning about the historical roots of present-day segregation affects respondents’ support for addressing present-day racial inequity in the United States via redistribution.


Enrique Valencia Lopez

Ph.D. Candidate in Policy, Politics, and Leadership at UC Berkeley

Project: Migrant Workers’ Attitudes Toward Early Childhood Care

Enrique Valencia López is a PhD student in the Policy, Politics and Leadership cluster at the Graduate School of Education. His research interests relate to three broad areas: the stratification of education by gender, immigration status and ethnicity; the measurement of teacher working conditions and well-being; and education in Latin America. He is currently researching (with Arlyn Moreno) the attitudes of farmworker immigrants towards early childhood care using mixed methods. The research aims to inform the main drivers and constraints Migrant Farm workers face when choosing options for early care for their children.


Liubing Xie

Ph.D. Candidate in City and Regional Planning

Project: Governing Migrant Labor through Rental Housing: Differentiated Rental Housing Schemes for Migrants in China and India

Liubing Xie’s research focuses on social-spatial inequality, living conditions, and lived experiences of migrant workers in Chinese and Indian cities at the intersection of migration, labor, and housing studies. He is especially interested in investigating the recent Chinese and Indian state initiatives to promote market-led but state-mediated rental housing for both skilled/educated and unskilled migrant labor forces in the large cities in China and India. He pursues these topics primarily through the methods of comparative urban studies and urban ethnography.


Alan Yan

Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at UC Berkeley

Project: Class-Based Origins of Immigration Attitudes

Alan Yan is a PhD student in the Political Science department. The primary question motivating much of his research is: Why isn’t there a rise in left voting as inequality has risen? His main focus is on class in American politics. Specifically, he is interested in how people conceptualize class, how people connect their class to politics, and how people understand their class interests. He is also interested in questions related to workplace democracy, ideology, and race.


2020- 21 Awardees
P.I. Name/Dept. Project Title
Felipe Lobel (Economics) Effects of Corporate Tax Subsidy to Small Firms in Brazil
Christopher Lowenstein (Health Policy) To study labor market conditions and related policies as determinants of health and as tools for improving health among vulnerable populations.
Tatiana Reyes Hinrichsen (Economics) Higher Education Admission Policy in Chile for High Achieving Underrepresended Students
Alicia Sheares (Sociology) Black Technology Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and Atlanta
Felipe Vial (Economics) Spatial Mismatch and Transit Infrastructure
2019- 20 Awardees
P.I. Name/Dept. Project Title
Nicholas Anderman (Geography) Laboring with Machines: Automation and Socio-Cultural Change in the Maritime Transport Industry
Alexandra Appelbaum (City and Regional Planning) Infrastructures of Inequality: Security Guards in Johannesburg, South Africa
Christopher Campos (Economics) Understanding Parental Preferences for Schools
Joshua Choper (Sociology)  Organizational and Demographic Determinants of Manager Bias in Work Scheduling
Caleb Dawson (Graduate School of Education) Black Interests, Institutional Commitments, and Sources of Support at UC Berkeley
Cristobal Otero (Economics) The Dynamics of Wage Differentials: Evidence from the Public Sector
Nina Roussille (City and Regional Planning) The Gender Ask Gap
Katherine Savin (Social Welfare) “Being on SSI is a full-time Job”: Making Disability Work
Adam Storer (Sociology) How Do Low-Wage Workers Evaluate Their Job Quality Following Changes to Their Employer’s Wage and Benefit Structure?
Matthew Unrath (Goldman School of Public Policy) Employer Search and Job Postings
2018- 19 Awardees
P.I. Name/Dept. Project Title
Bleemer, Zach (Economics) Long-Run Wage Returns by Field of Study
Brick , Carmen (Sociology) Welfare State Development and Low-Wage Labor Markets: Examining Variation in the Adoption of State Earned Income Tax Credits
Dagonel, Angelo (Political Science) Employee verification and unauthorized immigrant earnings
Fabros, Alinaya  (Sociology)  The Making of Transnational Labor Force: An Interngenerational Study of Global Labor Circulation from the Philippines, 1974-2016
Garcia Valdivia, Isabel (Sociology) Aging Immigrants: The Effects of Legal Status on Old Age Mexican-Origin Immigrants
Haegele, Ingrid (Economics) Biases in HR Practices and Labor Market Disparities
Jonas, Anne E. (School of Information) Virtual Hell? The Changing Nature of Teaching in Online Schools
LaBriola, Joe (Sociology) Estimating Causal Effects of Employment in ‘Good’ versus ‘Bad’ Industries After Release from Prison
Mui, Preston (Economics) The Aggregate Labor Supply Curve at the Extension Margin: A Reservation Wage Approach
Muñoz-Henríquez, Pablo (Economics) Labor Market Returns to Student Loans
Rao, Manaswini & Vaishnavi Surendra (ARE) Gender Wage Gap in Agricultural Labor Markets in Rural India
Reddy, Diana (Jurisprudence and Social Policy) Organized Labor as Interest Group, Organized Labor as Social Movement: Framing and Collective Identity in Class-Based Contention after Neoliberalism
Chang, Andy Scott (Sociology) Globalization from Below: Migration, Gender, and Cultural Change in Indonesia and Taiwan
Shaolin Belal, Saika (ARE) Does an unpredictable work schedule impede ability to plan?
Stoller, Sarah (History) Inventing the Working Parent: Work, Gender, and Feminism in Neoliberal Britain
Turner, Clara (City and Regional Planning) Economic Impacts of Naturalization on Young Immigrants
Unrath, Matthew (Public Policy) Evaluation of Trade Adjustment Assistance
Willa Luhr, Sigrid (Sociology) Diversity and Inclusion in the San Francisco Bay Area Tech Industry
Winicki, Paula (Sociology) Organizing Despite Precarity