Michael Stoll Joins Board of Directors of American Institutes for Research

Michael Stoll, professor of public policy and urban planning at UCLA Luskin, is one of two new appointees to the American Institutes for Research Board of Directors. Stoll, an expert in labor markets and the impacts of poverty, joins Mayra E. Alvarez, a national leader in public health policy and systems, on the board of the nonprofit organization, which is based in Washington, D.C. “We are excited to have Mayra E. Alvarez and Michael A. Stoll on the board and welcome the deep expertise they bring to key areas of AIR’s work,” said Patricia B. Gurin, chair of the AIR board. “Their experience, knowledge and insights will help the board guide the institution’s strategic direction today, and in the years ahead.” David Myers, chief executive officer of AIR, said that Stoll will join a group of experts who will provide guidance and understanding to AIR’s leadership team and ensure that the organization’s research and technical assistance work is “relevant, meaningful and mission-focused.” Stoll has previously served as a fellow for the institute, which is focused on behavioral and social science research and providing technical assistance to solve national and global challenges. He has also been a fellow at the Brookings Institution, the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has served as a past visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. In congratulating Stoll, Professor Robert Fairlie, chair of UCLA Luskin Public Policy, said, “AIR is an amazing place doing extremely important and impactful work.”


A ‘Hesitantly Bullish’ Take on U.S. Unemployment Trends

A WalletHub article on U.S. states where unemployment is ticking up cited Robert Fairlie, chair of Public Policy at UCLA Luskin and a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research. “I’m hesitantly bullish on the job market for 2024,” said Fairlie, explaining that national jobless rates are still relatively low and are not likely to increase rapidly in the coming year. But he added, “The major problem many people have is that their wages are not increasing as fast as inflation. That is making it hard for people to afford to live, especially in high-cost housing markets.” Moving savings out of non-interest-earning accounts and into money market funds that pay a higher interest rate is one way that people can protect their finances, Fairlie said. 


New Book by Fairlie Reveals Risks and Rewards of the U.S. Startup Economy

A new book co-authored by Robert Fairlie, chair of Public Policy at UCLA Luskin, provides a broad view of entrepreneurship that challenges the assumption that startup companies in the United States create jobs and power economic growth. Federal, state and local governments spend billions of dollars each year on incubators, loan programs, tax breaks and investor incentives to encourage the formation of job-creating businesses, yet these expenditures are often made without knowing whether they lead to lasting, decent-paying jobs. In “The Promise and Peril of Entrepreneurship: Job Creation and Survival Among US Startups,” published by MIT Press, Fairlie and co-authors Zachary Kroff, Javier Miranda and Nikolas Zolas use a comprehensive new data set to provide clarity. Their findings show that startup job creation and survival rates are much lower than those typically reported by federal sources. Official statistics indicate that each startup creates six new jobs on average, and 50% of startups survive up to five years. However, those numbers reflect only new businesses that have employees, not the millions of startups that launch without employees every year, the authors found. “Understanding the early-stage dynamics of entrepreneurship is important,” they write. “Starting a business is difficult, with many potential barriers and risks,” including the legal requirements and resources needed to hire employees. The authors also explore who owns startups, focusing on differences by race and ethnicity and documenting how some minority groups face significant barriers to entrepreneurship. Fairlie’s book is among five recently getting capsule reviews by the Financial Times, which lauds its use of reliably sourced data and says it will “help those seeking to nurture an entrepreneurial culture themselves: the policymakers, academics, incubator operators and business degree students.”