Berkeley Opportunity Lab



New Findings on Racial Equity in Unemployment Insurance and Tax Credits

Friday, December 1, 2023 12:00 pm - 01:00 pm

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. Supported by WorkRise and 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 policymakers 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.

The 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.

To close the event, a discussion between Damon Jones (Harris School, University of Chicago) and Danny Yagan (UC Berkeley), moderated by O-Lab Director Hilary Hoynes (UC Berkeley), will take place where the two will share insights from their experiences 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.


Ellora Derenoncourt, Assistant Professor of Economics, Princeton University

Hadi Elzayn, Research Scientist, Meta

Hillary Hoynes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

Damon Jones, Associate Professor, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy

Clair Montialoux, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

Danny Yagan, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley