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This event is hosted by UC Berkeley’s Opportunity Lab, Princeton’s Program for Research Program on Inequality (PRI), and WorkRise.

Visit this page to register for the webinar.

Since 2020, the Opportunity Lab’s Initiative on Racial Equity in the Labor Market has supported a series of graduate student projects examining the ways employment, tax, and benefit policies affect racial groups differently in the United States and around the world. At its core, this initiative aims to accelerate the generation of evidence on racial disparities and connect findings with policymakers at the state and federal level. 

In this webinar, Claire Montialoux (UC Berkeley) and Ellora Derenoncourt (Princeton) will offer a preview of work they are leading to construct a new database examining racial inequities in the US Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, a core pillar of the US social safety net. Covering the period of 1935 – 2020, their work offers an unprecedented, detailed look at how the UI program has been shaped by state-level racial demographics, and in turn, how the program has itself perpetuated racial inequities. This database will offer researchers and policy-makers a new opportunity to investigate how the design of public programs has shaped long-term economic outcomes for different racial groups, and to consider how reforms to the UI program could advance equity. 

This event will also feature a presentation from Hadi Elzayn (Meta) sharing his recent work on racial disparities in the tax auditing system, with insights into which types of policies hold the most promise for mitigating these disparities. 

The event will conclude with a discussion between Damon Jones (Harris School, Univ. of Chicago) and Danny Yagan (UC Berkeley). Jones and Yagan have both recently returned to academia from service in the federal government (Council of Economic Advisors and Office of Management and Budget, respectively). Through a conversation moderated by O-Lab Director Hilary Hoynes (UC Berkeley) and through audience Q&A, the two will share insights from their experience in DC on how federal policymakers can learn from this kind of research and use it to craft a more racially equitable tax and safety net system.


9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks | Claire Montialoux, UC Berkeley

9:05 a.m.

The Long Run Evolution of Racial Inequality in US Unemployment Insurance, 1935-2020 | Ellora Derenoncourt, Princeton University

9:20 a.m.


9:30 a.m.

Measuring & Mitigating Racial Disparities in Tax Audits | Hadi Elzayn, Meta

9:45 a.m.


9:55 a.m.

Using Evidence to Inform Racially Equitable Policymaking: Insights from Recent Service at the White House Council of Economic Advisors and the Office of Management and Budget | Discussion with Damon Jones (Univ. of Chicago) and Danny Yagan (UC Berkeley) ; moderated by Hilary Hoynes (UC Berkeley)

10:45 a.m.


10:55 a.m.

Wrap-up & closing remarks