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California Policy Lab Awarded $2M National Science Foundation Grant

October 1, 2020, Berkeley, CA — The California Policy Lab (CPL) was awarded a four-year, $2 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to advance social science and policy research through the Policy Evaluation and Research Linkage Initiative (PERLI). The PERLI project will develop powerful new datasets using linked administrative data from California. The data will considerably expand researchers’ ability to understand the dynamics of household economics, the social safety net, and complex social problems like homelessness.

“By constructing these datasets and making them available to a wide array of researchers, we will unlock a generation’s worth of new policy research,” said Professor Jesse Rothstein, LIPER’s lead researcher. “This kind of linked microdata used to be available only in Scandinavia – not anymore.”

PERLI builds on the Policy Lab’s infrastructure for linking and analyzing sensitive data from over twenty key data providers at the state and local level in California. Researchers from throughout the University of California, and beyond, will participate in the project.

“The PERLI datasets will substantially advance the study of poverty and economic mobility,” said Evan White, CPL’s Executive Director at UC Berkeley. “In order to solve complex policy problems, we need datasets that tell a more complete story, such as the full balance sheet of the household, or a full view of an individual’s participation in the various social safety net programs.”

The principal investigators (lead researchers) on the PERLI project are Jesse Rothstein, Professor of Public Policy and Economics; Hilary Hoynes, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, and Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities; and Steven Raphael, Professor and James D. Marver Chair in Public Policy. All are faculty members at UC Berkeley.

More information about the PERLI project is available here:

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 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 empirical research and technical assistance.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2020, its budget is $8.3 billion. NSF funds research in all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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