COVID-19 reduced life expectancy for Asian, Black, and Hispanic Californians more than White Californians
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows significant differences in how the pandemic shortened life expectancies. Hispanic life expectancy dropped by almost six years as compared to a roughly two-year reduction for White Californians. An already large gap in life expectancy (about 11.5 years) between people living in the highest income census tracts and lowest income census tracts also increased to more than 15 years in 2021. CPL’s Till von Wachter and Jonathan Kowarski were part of the multicampus research team behind the study, which was covered by CalMatters, the Sacramento Bee, Newsweek, the Atlantic, and others. Study
Study on UC Berkeley letters of recommendation
A forthcoming study in Economics of Education Review by Jesse Rothstein provides an in-depth look at the results from a 2016 pilot experiment by UC Berkeley to request letters of recommendation from a subset of college applicants. A multi-pronged analysis (using scraped text from the submitted letters, natural language processing tools, and a within-subject experimental design wherein applications were read in parallel with and without their letters) measures the role that the qualitative information in the letters played in admission decisions. Underrepresented applicants had better application outcomes when letters were available, but those gains were not concentrated among students with the strongest letters, instead, students with average letters actually benefited more than those with stronger letters. Overall, including the letters modestly improved outcomes for average underrepresented students. Pre-publication version.
New funding for Student Supports
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) recently awarded CPL a grant to support our Student Supports project. Through this project, we are using linked data to estimate the number of college students who participate in safety-net programs like CalFresh, and the number of students who are eligible but not using these programs. We will also study the effect of this program on student educational outcomes. This research will help inform efforts to develop, pilot, and test strategies to improve outreach to potentially eligible students. The IES grant will support our research on the community college population. CPL is partnering with the California Student Aid Commission, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the California Department of Social Services, and the University of California Office of the President on this project. Grant announcement
Data resources for social science researchers
Interested in using administrative data for policy-relevant research? We’ve curated a number of resources and opportunities!
Here’s a few:
- CPL Data Resources: Overview of datasets, opportunities, and resources, including our Data Roadmap to Government Administrative Data in California
- Policy Evaluation and Research Linkage Initiative (PERLI): With funding from the National Science Foundation, we’re creating linked longitudinal datasets of California data to make new, social, behavioral, and economic research possible. The Life Course dataset and Safety Net dataset are now available, visit their webpages to learn more about the data and application process.
- CPL Seed Grants and Graduate Fellowship grants: These grants support policy-relevant research by UC faculty and students. The next application deadline is Sept 30th.
Presentation: Connecting families to anti-poverty credits by linking data
Aparna Ramesh recently presented on CPL’s work to link tax-filing and safety-net enrollment data to help connect low-income families in California to assistance like the Child Tax Credit and pandemic stimulus payments. Her presentation was part of the Data Foundation’s Virtual Research Symposium. Stay tuned for an upcoming webinar hosted by CPL with guidance to department and agency leadership on how to plan, manage, and execute a linkage project.
Estudio revela que miles de personas no reclaman el crédito tributario en California
Karla Palos Castellanos from CPL is interviewed about the new foster youth tax credit (worth $1,000), and previous CPL research showing that some low-income Californians miss out on valuable tax credits like the CalEITC because the benefits are administered through the tax code.
LA County uses computer model to help predict homelessness
This news segment interviews Mellana Taylor, a Los Angeles resident who was contacted and helped by LA County caseworker, Kourtni Gouché, as part of the new Homeless Prevention Unit pilot. CPL is partnering with LA County to link data from county agencies in order to identify residents at the highest risk of homelessness and connect with them and provide stabilizing supports and services.
California is expanding tax credits. Thousands who need it most may not claim them
Jesse Rothstein is interviewed about the challenges with administering anti-poverty benefits via the tax code.
Why administering anti-poverty benefits through the tax code leaves people behind: Because many low-income Americans aren’t required to file taxes, that means they also miss out on these credits. Rothstein was also interviewed in a CalMatters article highlighting the same dynamic for some senior and disabled Californians, who won’t receive the recently enacted state rebates unless they had filed 2020 taxes by October 2021.
While lack of information about the credits may play a role, an in-depth experiment by CPL and our partners found that “nudges” to simply inform more than one million low-income Californians about the availability of credits were not effective at getting people to then claim the EITC or CalEITC. Based on those results, the authors recommended linking data between state agencies to pair eligible, low-income Californians with navigator support to help navigate the tax-filing process and claim tax credits. By targeting outreach, the state could concentrate the most intensive resources on those who need the most help.
CPL and the People Lab are partnering with the state of California to measure how many Californians may be missing out on credits and to conduct targeted outreach to these individuals to help them claim thousands of dollars of credits.
Capital Public Radio segment on life expectancy study
Jonathan Kowarski, a PhD student at UCLA, Research Fellow at CPL, and co-author of the new life expectancy study, is interviewed about the findings from the recent study finding that the pandemic reduced life expectancies of Californians.