Robert SantillanoSenior Researcher, UCLA

Robert Santillano headshot
areas of expertise
  • Causal inference
  • Education
  • Homelessness
  • Labor
  • PhD, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley
  • BA, Mathematics, Pomona College

Robert Santillano is a policy scholar with a passion to improve social services using actionable research. His motivation comes from his lived experience being connected to many of the programs he studies. Most of his work before joining the lab involved research and evaluation of employment-training services, public education, and the impacts of restrictive immigration policies. Although he continues to work in these areas, at CPL his research has expanded to include homelessness and social safety-net programs. Measuring program access across different populations, and identifying barriers or policies that can increase or decrease access, is an important aspect of this work for him.

Some of his ongoing projects are focused on how job training, safety-net, and homeless prevention services are helping everyday Californians. This includes quantifying the impacts of job training programs across California, estimating the effects of participating in Welfare-to-Work in Los Angeles, evaluating housing-first homelessness services in Los Angeles, and estimating the impacts of using predictive analytics in homelessness prevention programs to help predict and prevent homelessness.

Before joining the lab, Dr. Santillano enjoyed 10 years as an economist at Mathematica where he worked with various federal agencies. As a California native, he is committed to fostering longstanding partnerships that improve public wellbeing across the state. In his non-work time, he enjoys racquet sports (except racquetball), watching a variety of TV shows with his wife, and playing with his energetic four-year old son.

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