Using Randomized Evaluation to Learn about the Changing Nature of Work: J-PAL Launches the Work of the Future Initiative

Royal Sonesta - Cambridge, MA

J-PAL North America’s Work of the Future Initiative supports randomized evaluations of strategies and innovations that address the changing nature of work in North America. At this launch event, we heard from leading researchers David Autor (MIT), Lawrence Katz (Harvard), and Matthew Notowidigdo (Northwestern), as well as representatives from nonprofits, government, and industry leaders. We discussed the challenges associated with the evolving labor market and the importance of building partnerships between NGOs, the private sector, the government, and academia to generate evidence on these priority policy questions via randomized evaluations.

Over the course of the day, keynotes and panel sessions provided an overview of the existing rigorous literature on these topics and laid out potential paths forward for research. Topics included retraining or reskilling workers; facilitating worker transitions; improving productivity, skills, earnings, or employment prospects; and enhancing opportunities in alternative work arrangements.

You can find the final agenda for the convening posted on the right hand side of this page! 

Welcome from the MIT Work of the Future Task Force

  • Sanjay Sarma, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Introduction to J-PAL North America and the Work of the Future Initiative 

  • Mary Ann Bates, J-PAL North America

The Changing Nature of Work in North America

  • Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice & Caring Across Generations
  • Lawrence Katz, Harvard University
  • Abigail Wozniak, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Emma Rackstraw, J-PAL North America (moderator)

Preparing for the Work of the Future: A Research Agenda

  • John Horton, New York University
  • Susan Houseman, W.E. Upjohn Institute
  • Jed Kolko, Indeed
  • Matt Notowidigdo, Northwestern University 
  • Bridget Wack, J-PAL North America (moderator)

Building Effective Research-Policy Partnerships

Employment Connections at Michigan Works! Southwest

  • Alexander Bartik, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
  • Ben Damerow, Michigan Works! Southwest
  • Bryan Stuart, George Washington University

Summer Youth Employment in Chicago

  • Evelyn Diaz, Heartland Alliance
  • Sara Heller, University of Michigan

Kim Dadisman, J-PAL North America (moderator) 

Work of the Past, Work of the Future

  • David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Reflections on the Work of the Future 

  • Julie Gehrki, Walmart Foundation 
  • Damon Jones, University of Chicago 
  • Lawrence Katz, Harvard University 
  • Mary Ann Bates, J-PAL North America (moderator)