The California Policy Lab (CPL) creates data-driven insights for the public good. CPL’s mission is to partner with California’s state and local governments to generate scientific evidence to help solve California’s most urgent problems, including homelessness, poverty, crime, and education inequality. We facilitate close working partnerships between policymakers and researchers at UCLA and UC Berkeley to help evaluate and improve public programs through rigorous empirical research and technical assistance.

There is an opening for a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) to assist with research related to social safety net programs administered by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), such as CalFresh, CalWORKS, MediCal, and WIC. The state seeks to better understand who is participating in those programs, whether families use all the benefits available to them, whether there are relevant differences across counties and demographic groups, and how well the state is doing to close the poverty gap. This is a great chance to work on policy-relevant research using a rare linked administrative dataset. The GSR will have the opportunity to work with Professors Hilary Hoynes and Jesse Rothstein.


The GSR will contribute to data management, analysis, and writing for deliverables focusing on social safety net programs for California’s low-income families.

Tasks include

  • Compiling, cleaning, and analyzing data on CalFresh, CalWORKS, MediCal, WIC, and other social safety net programs
  • Building a framework for further analysis of the data by, for example, writing data dictionaries
  • Summarizing findings and their relevance. Presenting to policymakers and analyzing potential policy solutions
  • Managing, organizing, and formatting citations

Required skills and experience

  • Meets UC GSR eligibility requirements
  • Solid skills in statistical software (e.g., STATA or SAS preferred)
  • Competence with Microsoft Office, particularly Excel
  • Experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Excellent communications skills, both verbally and in writing
  • Ability to work independently and organize multiple tasks
  • Ability to pace the work and meet deadlines

Desired skills and experience

  • Experience creating maps and graphics with Tableau, R, or GIS
  • Background in issues and policies relating to the social safety net

10–20 hours per week through spring semester, then 20–40 hours per week over the summer, with possibility of renewal at 10–20 hours per week for fall semester. As the data reside in Sacramento, the position would require regular travel to Sacramento, anywhere from 2–4 days per week over the summer.

How to Apply
Send a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to Evan White. The application deadline is Friday, April 21, 2017.