Graduate Student Researcher

About the Lab
The California Policy Lab creates data-driven insights for the public good. Our mission is to partner with California’s state and local governments to generate scientific evidence that solves California’s most urgent issues, including homelessness, poverty, criminal justice reform, and education inequality. We facilitate close partnerships between policymakers and researchers at the University of California to help evaluate and improve public programs through empirical research and technical assistance.

CPL recognizes the value of having a diverse staff at all levels of the organization. We are looking for equity-minded applicants who represent and understand the diverse racial and ethnic, gender identity, sexual orientation, educational, socioeconomic, cultural, and disability backgrounds present in California. When you join our team, you can expect to be part of an inclusive and equity-focused community.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy. UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy.

The role
The California Policy Lab seeks a graduate student researcher interested in working with administrative employment data from the State of California. The data includes roughly two decades worth of linked employer-employee earnings and unemployment insurance (UI) claims microdata for the universe of UI-covered jobs in California. The GSR would be embedded at the CA Employment Development Department (EDD) and will be jointly supervised by CPL research affiliates and by EDD research staff. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the position is currently a telecommute arrangement. In the future the position will likely be part telecommute and part in-person at the EDD’s Sacramento offices. The GSR will have the option to arrange a mutually agreeable schedule combining mostly remote work with some in-person work.

The GSR would have the opportunity to work on several important pending projects, including the dynamics of the UI system, exploration of employment patterns among individuals receiving public programs, and others. The GSR would also be in a position to propose potential projects of his/her own choosing using the EDD microdata — including records on Unemployment Insurance, Paid Family Leave, State Disability Insurance, and matched worker-firm data — with the additional possibility of linking data to other local or California state data sources to which CPL has existing partnerships. (This model has been successful for two current CPL graduate students placed at EDD.)

The primary tasks for the GSR would include data wrangling, data cleaning and analysis, and partnership relationship management. It is a great opportunity to improve data analysis skills and to work with this important data source.

CPL is seeking candidates who are strongly quantitative and have a background in programming, data manipulation, and database queries. Candidates should have experience coding in Stata. Experience coding in SAS preferred but not required; some on-the-job-training in EDD systems will be provided.

We seek a 50%-time GSR (with fee remission) starting in the Summer Quarter of 2021. We prefer candidates who will also be available through the Spring Quarter of 2022, as we expect this work to be ongoing. A Summer appointment could be as much as full-time.

To apply:
Applicants must be currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of California, Davis; the University of California, Berkeley; or the University of California, Los Angeles. To apply, please send a CV and short statement of interest to ucla@capolicylab.org.   Please be sure to indicate (a) when you could start, (b) how many days per week you’d be available, and (c) your statistical programming experience. Feel free to contact CPL-UCLA faculty director Till Von Wachter (tvwachter@econ.ucla.edu) or CPL-UCLA executive director Janey Rountree (janeyrountree@ucla.edu) with any questions.

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Graduate Student Researcher PDF



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