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Open Access Publications from the University of California

IRLE’s Policy Brief series is aimed at translating the academic research of our faculty affiliates and campus researchers to a policy audience. We distribute briefs to policymakers and journalists.

For questions about the series, or to submit your research for consideration, please contact Series Editor Sara Hinkley (hinkley@berkeley.edu).



Cover page of Framing the Case for Supporting Immigrants

Framing the Case for Supporting Immigrants

(2019)

To build support for a cause, activists frame issues in ways they think will resonate with the public. UC Berkeley researchers find that one of the primary tactics for activists—using a civil rights framework to frame an issue—can actually decrease public support. Particularly in the case of immigrant rights and legalization, activists should reevaluate their strategies in order to successfully persuade the public to adopt change.

Cover page of Retaining Teachers of Color to Improve Student Outcomes

Retaining Teachers of Color to Improve Student Outcomes

(2019)

Low pay for teachers has received significant national attention, but having a diverse teaching workforce is also critical for improving student outcomes. A large but often ignored problem in America’s education system is the lack of diverse representation among teachers. There are very few male teachers of color in the classroom, and the turnover rate for ones that exist is disproportionately high. Retaining such teachers is a critical element in efforts to narrow the achievement gap and improve student outcomes.

Cover page of Finding Employment After Contact with the Carceral System

Finding Employment After Contact with the Carceral System

(2019)

People who have been arrested, convicted of a crime, or incarcerated face many barriers to employment. While much of the difficulty in finding employment is due to institutional exclusion, a UC Berkeley researcher has attributed some of the problem to ineffective job search methods. What can policymakers do to ensure that people who have interacted with the carceral system can find employment?

Cover page of The Post-Recession Labor Market: An Incomplete Recovery

The Post-Recession Labor Market: An Incomplete Recovery

(2019)

Recovery from the Great Recession has been slow and extremely prolonged. It was tempting to conclude, at various points, that we had recovered as much as we were going to. Even after the official unemployment rate receded, other indicators of recovery remained much more mixed—the share of people employed remained well below pre-recession levels; wages were stagnant; and inequality continued to grow. Absent clear evidence of a full recovery, including healthy wage growth, policy efforts should emphasize ensuring that the benefits of growth are broadly shared.

Cover page of The Great Recession, Families, and the Safety Net

The Great Recession, Families, and the Safety Net

(2018)

The Great Recession caused significant hardship for many U.S. families. Safety net programs—some of which were expanded during the recession and its recovery—mitigated some of the worst effects, but were not available to all households and were insufficient to compensate for the depth of the downturn. What can policymakers learn from the adequacy of the response?

Cover page of What Really Caused the Great Recession?

What Really Caused the Great Recession?

(2018)

The Great Recession devastated local labor markets and the national economy. Ten years later, Berkeley researchers are finding many of the same red flags blamed for the crisis: banks making subprime loans and trading risky securities. Congress just voted to scale back many Dodd-Frank provisions. Does another recession lie around the corner?

Cover page of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Update: California Expansion, Federal Inaction

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Update: California Expansion, Federal Inaction

(2018)

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is now the primary anti-poverty program in the U.S., but it has not kept up with wage stagnation. Berkeley faculty recently proposed an increase in the federal EITC, California has adopted an expansion of its own state EITC, and Congress passed a tax bill that fails to help EITC recipients.

Cover page of State Policy Strategies for Narrowing the Gender Wage Gap

State Policy Strategies for Narrowing the Gender Wage Gap

(2018)

#MeToo and #TimesUp protests about the treatment of women in the workplace have brought renewed attention to gender pay equity. This brief looks at three legislative solutions that aim to close the gap by increasing pay transparency and pushing employers to set salaries to the position, not the history of the person doing the job.

Cover page of State Policy Strategies for Narrowing the Gender Wage Gap

State Policy Strategies for Narrowing the Gender Wage Gap

(2018)

#MeToo and #TimesUp protests about the treatment of women in the workplace have brought renewed attention to gender pay equity. This brief looks at three legislative solutions that aim to close the gap by increasing pay transparency and pushing employers to set salaries to the position, not the history of the person doing the job.

Cover page of Working in the service sector in Connecticut

Working in the service sector in Connecticut

(2018)

Nearly 250,000 workers are employed in the retail and food service sector in the state of Connecticut. Nationally, jobs in the service sector are characterized by low pay and few fringe benefits, and workers employed in the service sector have little control over the days and times that they will work. In addition, many service sector employers across the country rely on just-in-time and on-call scheduling practices designed to minimize labor costs by closely aligning staffing with consumer demand. These practices can introduce a great deal of instability into the lives of workers and their families.