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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment is a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to research, teaching, and service on labor and employment issues. Through the work of its units—the Labor Center, the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH), and the Human Resources Round Table (HARRT)—the Institute forms wide-ranging research agendas that carry UCLA into the Los Angeles community and beyond. The institute supports faculty and graduate student research on employment and labor topics in a variety of academic disciplines, sponsors colloquia, conferences, and other public programming, and is home to the undergraduate minor in Labor  Studies. 

Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

There are 199 publications in this collection, published between 2002 and 2023.
Policy Briefs (47)

Workers as Health Monitors: An Assessment of Los Angeles County’s Workplace Public Health Council Proposal

The County of Los Angeles faces an extraordinary task in the coming weeks as it attempts to reduce its record COVID-19 rates while fostering a beleaguered economy. Health officials observe that workplaces throughout LA County are focal points of transmission, as enforcement of public health orders has lagged in a climate of desperation and fear. Lack of access to information and inadequate reporting mechanisms for public health order violations, particularly LA County’s detailed, industry-specific “Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community” (County Health Order) jeopardize public health and economic recovery. Meanwhile, the County’s Department of Public Health (DPH) lacks sufficient investigators to pose a credible threat of a compliance check at the county’s 244,000 businesses.

This report examines the costs and benefits of an innovative LA County proposal to recruit frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 transmission. The proposal requires businesses to permit employees to form public safety councils who meet with management to plan and troubleshoot compliance and report regularly to the DPH. Workers who participate would be free from retaliation. The DPH in turn would designate organizations to convene, train, and assist public health councils to spot and report violations.

How Can Universities Foster Educational Equityfor Undocumented College Students:Lessons from the University of California

Undocumented students face a multitude of barriers when pursuing highereducation. This report examines what universities can do to promote theeducational equity of undocumented students. We focus on the Universityof California system, nine undergraduate educational institutions thathave supportive institutional policies and are located in a state that offersaccess to in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid. Drawing on focusgroups and interviews with 214 undocumented University of Californiaundergraduate students and an original survey with 508 respondents, weoutline how these educational institutions have successfully closed someresource gaps by creating undocumented student programs. We thenexplore four persisting barriers: financial need, academic distraction, mentalhealth, and limited postgraduate preparation. We end by outlining policyrecommendations.

Local Government Models of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Employment

As one of the primary engines of economic development, local governments are in a position to enhance employment opportunities for low income and minority workers by implementing policies to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in the local workforce. This brief reviews the policy tools and strategies available to municipal governments for targeted workforce development. Based on a survey of policies in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Cleveland, the brief shows types of policies local government agencies can implement to recruit, train, and provide employment opportunities for workers from disadvantage populations in local communities. The brief concludes policies that include members from the community in the developmental process and emphasize collaboration with civic organizations are more effective for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity in the local workforce.

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Working Papers (82)

A Vaccination for Education - The ICDS and the Education of Older Girls in Rural India

Girls lag behind boys in education in India. They also appear to provide significant amount of childcare at home. In this paper I investigate if provision of childcare services by India’s largest child development program - Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) - helps to reduce gender education gap byreleasing girls from home responsibilities. There are several mechanisms by which the ICDS provides childcare directly and could reduce its cost. Using logit, covariate matching and conditional logit (villageand mother fixed-effects), I find that in rural India the girls 6-14 years, whose younger sibling below 5 years is receiving any of the ICDS services intensely, have 44% higher odds of schooling, than thosewhose sibling is either receiving no ICDS service or none intensely. The effect on boys 6-14 years is positive, but not robust. Further evidence suggests that younger age girls seem to be benefiting relativelymore, and the effect is driven mainly by positive health benefits of vaccinations of younger children, and perhaps of supplementary feeding. The bigger and more robust effect on girls seems to be consistent with evidence from time-use of children 6-14. In comparison to boys, relatively many more girls spendtime on childcare, especially those with very young siblings of ages 0-23 months, and significantly lesser number combine childcare and education.

Development, Disparity, and Colonial Shocks: Do Endowments Matter?

The province of Punjab – home to 56 percent of Pakistan’s population, is marked by regionaldisparity. This paper argues that the socioeconomic disparity observed today between theSouth-West of Punjab and the rest of the Province is largely owed to the historical differences inregional endowments. During the colonial rule over India, the North and Center of the provincebenefitted from Canals, Cantonments (military garrisons) and enlistment in the Indian army tofight on the side of the Britain in the two world wars. These shocks rested upon endowmentsunique to the two regions. The barren but cultivable land and sparse population of the Centerfacilitated canal colonization. The geo-strategic location of the North allowed the establishmentof military headquarters and smaller garrisons in the region. The hardy men of the North,experienced in warfare since the 12th century, were suitable for the army. The South-West of thePunjab lacking the endowments of interest to the British, failed to benefit. Hence, thesocioeconomic disparity observed today.

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IRLE Reports (70)

Undocumented and Uninsured Part 5: Prescription for a Healthy California

Health insurance is an important factor in health care. Lack of health insurance dissuades people from seeking both routine and emergency health services. Those who do access health care without insurance can face enormous costs. Based on a statewide survey, the Healthy California project found that most immigrant youth did not grow up with health insurance, usually due to lack of affordability or immigration status. Nonetheless, as young adults, immigrant youth have found ways to navigate the system and obtain health care through school, work, or a family member’s insurance plan.

As of 2013, over 54% of immigrant youth reported that they had recently obtained health insurance for the first time. Of those, 20% reported being covered by someone else’s insurance plan, such as a parent or spouse. Eleven percent reported using government programs, such as Medi-Cal and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). An additional 8% percent paid for private insurance. The largest proportion, 32%, reported accessing insurance through their university. Another 20% reported receiving insurance through their employers.

When people access insurance through institutions, their coverage ends with changes in school enrollment or employment status; people who lack the personal funds to buy their own insurance easily become uninsured once again upon exiting the supporting institution.

Building a Culture of Cross-border Solidarity

In the period since the North American Free Trade Agreement has come into effect, the economies of the United States and Mexico have become more integrated than ever. Through Plan Merida and partnerships on security, the military and the drug war, the political and economic policies pursued by the U.S. and Mexican governments are more coordinated than they’ve ever been.

Working people on both sides of the border are not only affected by this integration. Workers and their unions in many ways are its object. These policies seek to maximize profits and push wages and benefits to the bottom, manage the flow of people displaced as a result, roll back rights and social benefits achieved over decades, and weaken working class movements in both countries.

All this makes cooperation and solidarity across the U.S./Mexico border more important than ever. After a quarter century in which the development of solidarity relationships was interrupted during the cold war, unions and workers are once again searching out their counterparts and finding effective and appropriate ways to support each other.

Undocumented and Uninsured Part 2: Band-Aid Care

A Five-Part Report on Immigrant Youth and the Struggle to Access Health Care in California

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