A new UCI research center has been created in the School of Social Sciences to focus on the use of economics-related research in the development and improvement of public policy.  Directed by David Neumark, economics professor and widely noted labor market policy expert with extensive work experience in public policy, the Center for Economics & Public Policy will focus on key policy issues important to federal, state and local policymakers in the United States, as well as those in other countries and the communities policymakers serve. 

“Most of the attention that economics research attracts stems from its contributions to public policy,” says Neumark.  At UCI, for example, transportation economists study costs and benefits of transportation alternatives in terms of costs and pollution emissions; political economists focus on difficulties in political decision making and mechanisms for improving those decisions; and labor economists estimate the effects of policy changes on employment and poverty. 

“These types of studies - many of which become front page news in places like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and which fuel debate and drive the development of new public policy - are grounded in economics research and impact our day-to-day quality of life,” Neumark says. 

The Center for Economics & Public Policy at UCI aims to provide more opportunities for researchers across campus to collaborate on these types of issues. The benefits, says Neumark, will yield more public policy applications of current research, fuel future academic studies, and result in more informed public policy. 

The center officially launched in fall 2011 with 21 faculty affiliates from areas of study including business, law, education, economics, sociology, health care management, engineering, and planning, policy and design. 

A November 30 talk featuring Alan Auerbach, Robert D. Burch Professor of Economics and Law and Director of the Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, UC Berkeley kicks off the center’s 2011 schedule of events. Further planned activities include the creation of a public speaker series at UCI and a working paper series to share current, in-the-works research with policymakers and other researchers with the goals of strengthening ties between UCI researchers and policymakers.

Learn more about the Center for Economics & Public Policy at www.economicsandpublicpolicy.uci.edu or www.cepp.uci.edu. Center director David Neumark may be reached for comments at dneumark@uci.edu.

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