Chief Evaluation Office
Department of Labor Scholars Program
CEO is excited to support the DOL Scholars Program. Since 2012, an annual competition has awarded a cohort of academics with up to $50,000 each, to conduct independent research relevant to DOL policies and program. These projects culminate in a final report summarizing the design, analysis, and findings, as well as a public-use data file, if applicable.
2018-2019 DOL Scholars Program
The 2018-2019 DOL Scholars will conduct and complete research between September 2018 and August 2019. Projects focus on a range of labor-related topics such as: recessions in the U.S. local labor markets; registered apprenticeship programs in Ohio; independent contracting in California; and criminal justice contact and employment trajectories among young adults. Read more below on the work of this year's scholars.
Tian Lou, Post-doctoral Researcher, The Ohio State University
Evaluation of Registered Apprenticeship Programs in Ohio
The U.S. government aims to increase the number of apprentices to 5 million by 2022. Although there has been substantial growth in the number of apprentices, very little is known about whether and how they benefit from apprenticeship programs. This project will investigate whether apprentices have better labor market outcomes than individuals who have similar educational backgrounds but did not participate in any apprenticeship programs. The project will focus on high school dropouts and high school graduates, since compared with other education groups, these two groups are more likely to participate in apprenticeship programs and benefit from them. In addition, we hypothesize that if apprenticeships are beneficial, they may improve individuals’ outcomes because: 1) apprentices acquire work experience through apprenticeship training; 2) those who complete their programs can get a nationally recognized certificate, which signals their ability to potential employers. Thus, the study will further examine the relative importance of the training and the certificate. This result helps understand the outcomes of apprentices and design policy to improve the participation and completion rates of apprenticeship programs. To achieve these goals, the project will link the Registered Apprenticeship data in Ohio with UI Wages and Higher Education data to track individuals’ apprenticeship participation, education, and employment history.
Jesse Rothstein, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Director of Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and of California Policy Lab, University of California, Berkeley
The “Gig Economy” and Independent Contracting: Evidence from California Tax Data
This study will measure the prevalence and nature of self-employment, including independent contracting and on-demand platform (AKA “gig”) work in California with de-identified, individual-level data on the universe of California personal income tax returns. These jobs are excluded from US labor market regulations, enforcement, and various programs administered by DOL, so understanding the number of individuals who work primarily or exclusively in this sector is important to ensuring that workers are adequately protected. The study will examine tax returns, linked over time and to the companies that issue W-2s and 1099s to workers and independent contractors, respectively. Jobs will be categorized by the presence of self-employment income, by its share of the worker’s total earnings, by the type of work, and by the industry in which it is performed. The results will shed light on the growth and distribution of independent contracting in California and will provide valuable information for Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and other DOL agencies.
Naomi Sugie, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California, Irvine
: Naomi F. Sugie is an Assistant Professor in the Criminology, Law and Society Department at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on issues of punishment and crime, employment, families, inequality, and new technologies for research with hard-to-reach groups. Her recent projects examine prisoner reentry and the consequences of criminal justice contact for employment, mental health, and political participation. Her work is published in journals such as American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Demography, Social Forces, and Social Problems, and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Justice, and National Science Foundation. Sugie earned a Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy, as well as a specialization in Demography, from Princeton University.
Criminal Justice Contact and Employment Trajectories Among Young Adults
In the United States, the expansive reach of the criminal justice system has made it a consequential labor market institution. As Western and Beckett explain in their seminal article on incarceration (1999), the criminal justice system provides two functions: first, incarceration removes less-skilled people from labor force counts, which diminishes the appearance of labor market inequalities in the short term. Second, the stigma of incarceration and criminal records negatively impact employment, wages, and earnings, which leads to labor market inequalities in the long term. Although scholarship on labor market and criminal justice systems centers on incarceration in prison, other forms of criminal justice contact (including arrest, incarceration in jails, and supervision) are more prevalent. The lack of attention to these other forms of contact suggests that the consequences of the criminal justice system for labor market outcomes have a far greater reach than currently considered. This project will assess the short- and long-term consequences of criminal justice contact for labor force participation and labor market outcomes using nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. In addition to labor market outcomes that are commonly considered (e.g., any employment, wages, and earnings), the study will utilize monthly measures of labor market outcomes, combined with novel sequence analysis methods, to assess instability and precariousness of employment and wages.
2017-2018 DOL Scholars Program
The 2017-2018 DOL Scholars will conduct and complete research between August 2017 and August 2018. Projects focus on a range of labor-related topics such as: contingent work in the U.S. labor market; the interplay among labor markets on American Indian reservations, tribal policy, and Native economic health; job characteristics and job retention of workers with disabilities; and variations in unemployment and re-employment rates by local economic conditions. Read more below on the work of this year's scholars.
2016-2017 DOL Scholars Program
In 2016-2017, four scholars from recognized research institutions were competitively selected to participate in the DOL Scholars Program.
Prior Years Scholars Program
2015 DOL Scholars Program
In 2015, five scholars from recognized research institutions were competitively selected to participate in the 2015 DOL Scholars Program.
2013-2014 DOL Scholars Program
In 2013, six scholars from recognized research institutions were competitively selected to participate in the 2013-2014 DOL Scholars Program.
2012-2013 DOL Scholars Program
In 2012, one scholar was competitively selected to conduct research under the DOL scholar program.