Post-doctoral Scholar

About the California Policy Lab

The California Policy Lab (CPL) creates data-driven insights for the public good. Our mission is to improve the lives of Californians by generating evidence that transforms public policy. We do this by forming lasting partnerships between government and California’s flagship public universities to harness the power of research and administrative data. We work on California’s most urgent problems, including homelessness, poverty, crime, and education inequality. We facilitate close working partnerships between policymakers and researchers at the University of California to help evaluate and improve public programs through rigorous empirical research and technical assistance.

The role

CPL expects to hire for a post-doctoral scholar position to start in 2020. Email Johanna Lacoe ( for more information. We will be available to provide more information about the position at the 2019 APPAM Fall Research Conference and 2019 AEA/ASSA Annual Meeting.

The position will be a full-time, two-year post-doctoral researcher. The expected start date is July 1, 2020 and the recruitment will be open until filled.

The post-doctoral researcher will work closely with faculty at UC and with government partners of the California Policy Lab on data-driven projects related to criminal justice, education, social safety net, employment, and/or housing and homelessness. The post-doctoral researcher will be involved in every aspect of the research, from research design to data analysis and reporting. The position will give this early scholar a chance to build their research portfolio by taking advantage of CPL’s existing partnerships with California agencies, including the Franchise Tax Board, Department of Social Services, the Community College system, the Department of Justice, and the Health and Human Services Agency, as well as several local partners.

The post-doc would develop project leadership experience and gain extensive practice working with large administrative data sets. Duties will include research design, intensive data analysis, and assisting with the creation of presentations, internal reports, and academic articles for publication. The post-doc will also be responsible for project management, communicating with agency partners and mentoring graduate students and other staff who are assisting with projects. The post-doc will be expected to spend 50% of their time on CPL projects (some of which would lead to co-authored papers), 25% of their time on self-generated projects using CPL’s data infrastructure, and 25% of their time on other self-generated projects. The position does not include teaching obligations.

The post-doc would report to Research Director Johanna Lacoe and would work collaboratively with Faculty Director Jesse Rothstein, Executive Director Evan White, other research affiliates of CPL, and other staff of the Lab. The term is 24 months, with a possibility of renewal.

Principal Responsibilities
• Design rigorous research projects that answer policy-relevant questions, in collaboration with government partners.
• Lead research projects as a co-principal investigator and primary project manager.
• Manage the work of research associates and/or graduate students, who provide analytic and relationship support on some projects.
• Be the primary point of contact with government agency partners. The postdoc will manage those relationships, provide deliverables on time, attend and organize meetings with stakeholders, and keep engagement active and bidirectional. Some agencies are located in other parts of the state, including Sacramento and Los Angeles, and this would involve occasional travel to those locations, probably not exceeding 2-3 times per month.
• Prepare applications for funding.
• Act as a subject matter expert and project manager for other CPL projects.
Required Knowledge and Skills:
• A doctoral degree in a relevant technical, social science, or interdisciplinary field such as Public Policy, Economics, Political Science, Computer Science, Statistics, Sociology, or Criminology. To be considered for this position, applicants must have completed all degree requirements except the dissertation for receipt of their Ph.D. or equivalent degree. Degree completion required by start date.
• Extensive knowledge of at least one of the California Policy Lab’s primary policy areas, and related literature.
• A superior academic performance and publication record.
• Advanced econometrics or other statistical training, including familiarity with methods for experimental and non-experimental causal inference.
• Proficiency with STATA or with another statistical program (SAS, R, etc.) and a commitment to learning whatever language is appropriate for given projects.
• Ability to work discreetly with sensitive and confidential data.
• Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including exceptional writing skills.

Preferred Knowledge and Skills
• Experience working with administrative data.
• Experience in or with governments, or a demonstrated ability to adapt to that environment.
• Ability to successfully lead a team (prior management experience preferred).
• Experience writing grant proposals.

Salary and Benefits
The salary for this position is based upon experience and qualifications. Salary is competitive and higher than the minimum salary scale for post-docs, found here. UC Berkeley offers excellent benefits packages as well as a number of policies and programs in to support employees as they balance work and family. More information can be found here.

Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Job Location
Berkeley, CA

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