MIT J-PAL’s Work of the Future Initiative: Building a Future that Works for All

Accel office in Palo Alto, CA

J-PAL North America’s Work of the Future Initiative convened leaders from academia, industry, the nonprofit sector, government, and philanthropy to address the biggest challenges facing many workers today, from automation to shifting labor market trends, and the role research can play in ensuring a prosperous future for all. The closed-door gathering highlighted J-PAL North America’s partnership with the Gerri and Rich Wong Family to advance an evidence-based approach to addressing challenges related to the evolving nature of work. The day of conversation, learning, and action also served as a strong foundation for future research partnerships.

The event featured an ongoing research partnership between an innovative workforce technology company and leading academic researchers to increase employment opportunities for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Experts in the field from industry and academia led discussions on the power of research and experimentation to create policy change and the role—and imperative—of the private sector. An evening cocktail reception and fireside chat between Rich Wong and MIT Professor of Economics David Autor concluded the event.

The discussions were hosted at Accel's offices in Palo Alto. The agenda can be found on the top right side of this page.

About J-PAL North America’s Work of the Future Initiative:
J-PAL North America is a regional office of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. Our mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.

J-PAL North America’s Work of the Future Initiative seeks to identify effective, evidence-based strategies that increase opportunity, reduce disparities, and help all workers navigate the work of the future. Millions of workers throughout the industrialized and developing worlds could be affected by automation, rising inequality, stagnating educational attainment, and other labor market trends in the coming decades. Many workers lack access to jobs that pay living wages, have jobs with insufficient benefits or protections, or lack the necessary skills or education to progress within their industries in the face of technological change. By spurring research on effective ways to help workers thrive in today’s changing labor market, the Work of the Future Initiative aims to center worker voices and create a more equitable future of work.

View the initiative's research agenda authored by Co-Chairs David Autor (MIT) and Matthew Notowidigdo (Northwestern), and Anran Li (Northwestern). 

J-PAL North America Executive Director Mary Ann Bates on why J-PAL North America decided to launch this initiative, and why the work of the future is a critical issue for organizations focused on reducing poverty.