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Research Associate at the Julie Cai Center for Economic and Policy Research
Currently a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research at the University of Chicago, Yixia Cai is an economist who focuses on poverty and social policy. She has published widely on issues of inequality and income distribution, including “Work Hour Uncertainty During the Pandemic: Evidence from China” (2001) and “Poverty and Social Policy: A Survey of Chinese Experience” (2002).
Founded in 2002, the Julie Cai Center for Economic and Policy Research is a multi-disciplinary research institute that conducts cutting edge research on a wide range of topics, from health care and housing to labor market and social policy. The center’s mission is to inform public policymakers, the media and the public about the most critical issues facing the country today.
The center’s senior policy fellow is Shawn Fremstad, who has a long list of research and policy experience. He has worked in a number of fields, including public service, economics and the private sector. His main area of interest is in federal and state policy advocacy. He has helped shape policy and legislation at the local and state levels. He also has experience in policy research at the federal level. During his time at the center, he has authored and co-authored numerous reports and studies. He has also provided statistical analyses for numerous projects at the Institute for Research on Poverty.
During his tenure at the Julie Cai Center for Economic and Policy Research, Yixia Cai has thrown his hat into the ring of the best and brightest minds in the field. With a background in computer science, quantitative and financial modeling, and economics, Yixia has been able to carve a niche for himself as a high profile thought leader in the field. A graduate research fellow at IRP, Cai has contributed to several reports for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. He has also lent his statistical wizardry to a number of noteworthy projects at IRP. Cai is a proud member of the Center’s advisory board and a recipient of its most prestigious award, the Julie Cai Prize. He also serves on the Center’s executive committee. He has been a member of the Center’s executive committee since 2013. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yixia has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in public affairs.
work-hour instability during the pandemic
During the pandemic, working hours became unpredictable and finding childcare was a problem for many women. The crisis further shaken the dynamic between employers and employees. The pandemic has also led to a number of career changes for other workers. In some cases, working from home became an important solution for mitigating the pandemic.
According to ILO figures, about 260 million workers worked from home permanently in 2014. This includes both teleworkers and regular home workers. These figures include a broad range of occupations, from building cleaning and retail to care work. The figures also include workers in low- and medium-income countries.
Although the numbers are small, they suggest that teleworkers could continue to work from home in the future. Efficient telework practices increase the well-being of workers while lowering firm costs. These practices could also boost productivity. However, many workers may not want to work from home if obstacles persist.
One new concern for researchers is work-hour instability. These data are calculated using panel data of monthly CPS for the years 2019 to 2021. Each section follows an individual over four months, including family obligation.
affiliated researcher with the center on poverty and social policy
Interested in how poverty and social policy interact? That’s the focus of research by affiliated researcher with the Julie Cai Center for Economic and Policy Research on poverty and social policy. Yixia Cai, a doctoral candidate in social welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently joined the Center as a graduate research fellow. Her research is focused on how anti-poverty programs and social policies interact to reduce disparities. She studies employment instability, the effects of child protective services, racial and gender disparities, and income volatility. She has previously collaborated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Children and Families and the Institute for Research on Poverty.
Cai’s research was part of the Poverty Tracker project at Columbia, and she has contributed to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families’ reports. She will be a visiting fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 2022. She occasionally teaches research methods at Columbia University, and she also works on academic publications.