IRLE’s mission is to conduct and support research on labor and employment at UC Berkeley. Our goal is to bridge the gap between academic research and the policy world.
To achieve this goal, IRLE supports policy-relevant and socially-engaged research; disseminates the latest research from our centers, affiliated faculty, and scholars to a wide audience of policymakers, academics, and the public; and educates California’s labor, business, and community leaders.
This year was my second as Director of IRLE, and one of significant change and growth in our campus reach. In 2016–17, we focused on expanding IRLE’s engagement with campus, support for faculty, and communication of cutting-edge research to a wide audience.
Below are some highlights of our year:
- Awarded 28 IRLE Faculty Research Grants—$357,794 total—to UC Berkeley faculty for research and events.
Created and funded a new dissertation year fellowship, providing full tuition and stipend for three students (see p. 27).
- Launched a new policy brief series to disseminate faculty research to a wider audience (see p. 8).
- Launched an innovative new project with UCLA—the California Policy Lab—to harness the power of administrative data to improve California policy (see p. 6).
- Hosted a conference, co-sponsored with the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, on the causes of wage stagnation
and inequality (see p. 28).
- Held a weekly seminar series featuring Berkeley faculty, visiting scholars from around the world, Berkeley doctoral students, and national policy experts. We also held two all-day research workshopscfeaturing the work of our visiting scholars (see p. 28).
- Created a new secure data facility to house non-public data sets, and provided administrative and technical support for the establishment of data use agreements.
- Expanded grants administration capacity to support faculty seeking and managing external funding (see p. 36).
- Renovated our building to provide more usable office space, a new conference room, improved conferencing technology, and drop-in work space.
- Hosted 28 visiting scholars (see p. 34.)
- Provided start-up support for the Berkeley Opportunity Lab (O-Lab), which is bringing funding and public attention to Berkeley’s world-class faculty researching inequality, economic opportunity, and social mobility.
- Provided financial support to the Econometrics Laboratory, the Department of Economics statistical computing facility.
The following pages detail the significant contributions IRLE and its Centers have made over the
past year in research, public outreach, and campus life. As this report illustrates, IRLE’s research
makes it into the hands of intellectual leaders and policymakers at the forefront of debates about
the challenges facing working people today. I am proud of the tremendous contributions IRLE has
made this year to UC Berkeley and to the national conversation about labor and the economy.
-Jesse Rothstein, Director of IRLE