Uneven Outcomes in the Labor Market

Understanding Trends and Identifying Solutions
A chef plating food, a construction worker reviewing blue prints, a librarian

What’s Government Got to Do With It? Policy at All Levels
Speakers | February 8, 2024

Rajashri Chakrabarti

Head of Equitable Growth Studies
Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Raji Chakrabarti is the Research Department Head of Equitable Growth Studies in the Research and Statistics group. Her areas of interest include labor economics, economics of education, inequality, consumer finance, and climate risk. Her research focuses on educational investment decisions and future financial and economic outcomes, consumer debt and repayment, financial literacy, costs and returns to post-secondary education and educational finance and accountability, climate change, and inequalities in each of these spheres.

Raji is also a research affiliate at Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, a fellow at New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy, an affiliate at Columbia University’s Committee on the Economics of Education, an affiliate at the Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute of the Minneapolis Fed, a CESifo fellow, and a member of the U.S. Department of Education student loan microsimulation technical working group. She served on the board of directors and executive committee of the New York Census Research Data Center, the board of directors of Association for Education Finance and Policy, and the editorial board of Education Finance and Policy.

Prior to joining the New York Fed, Raji was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Program on Education Policy and Governance. She holds a PhD in Economics from Cornell University.

Principal Economist
Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Neil R. Ericsson is a staff economist in the Division of International Finance at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, an adjunct professor in the Economics Department at Howard University, and a research professor in economics at The George Washington University. He received his BA in Economics from Yale University, and an MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics and a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics.

His research interests include econometric methods, empirical modelling, and economic forecasting, with a focus on modelling and forecasting in a policy context. His recent work has concentrated on evaluating forecasts used in policy decisions and developing and implementing methods for improving those forecasts.

His work has appeared in numerous economics journals, including the American Economic Review, Econometric Theory, Econometrica, Econometrics, International Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economics and Statistics, and Journal of Business and Economic Statistics. He has taught extensively at U.S. and foreign universities, international organizations, foreign central banks and statistical agencies, and in the American Economic Association summer training and scholarship program.

Enrique Lopezlira

Director, Low-Wage Work Program
UC Berkeley Labor Center

Enrique Lopezlira is the director of the Low-Wage Work Program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center. He is a labor economist, directing and conducting research on how policies affect working families, with a particular focus on how these policies impact racial and gender equity.

Dr. Lopezlira previously served as senior policy advisor for economic and employment policy at UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), one of the largest Latinx civil rights organizations in the nation. He also served as deputy director for policy and research at Western Progress, a think tank advancing progressive policies and change in the eight states of the Rocky Mountain West.

He also brings experiences in advising various government agencies and testifying at the state and federal levels. He is often asked for his economic insights and analysis by English and Spanish media; he has appeared on CNN, CNN en Español, and Univision, and has been covered in Al Jazeera, Politico, and the Washington Post.

Dr. Lopezlira holds a doctorate in economics from Howard University. He also holds a master’s degree in international management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Arizona State University.

Merissa Piazza

Senior Policy Analyst
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Merissa C. Piazza is a lead policy analyst in the Community Development Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. In her role, she conducts analyses and applied research related to workforce and economic development among other issues affecting low- to moderate-income communities.

Prior to joining the Cleveland Reserve Bank, Dr. Piazza served as a program manager for the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University, where she conducted applied research on economic development, entrepreneurship, small businesses, and workforce development.

Dr. Piazza holds a BA in political science and Spanish from Oakland University, an MPIA (public and international affairs) from the University of Pittsburgh, and a PhD in urban studies and public affairs from Cleveland State University.

Bill Rodgers

Vice President and Director, Institute for Economic Equity
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

William M. Rodgers III is vice president and director of the Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Before joining the Fed, Rodgers served as professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. His areas of expertise include compensation, pay equity, diversity and inclusion, labor market and general economic trends.

Rodgers is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and served as the Academy’s board chair for the last five years. Rodgers also serves as treasurer for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. He is a non-resident fellow at The Century Foundation. He served on the National Economic Association Board and is a past president. Rodgers also served on the U.S. Board of United Way Worldwide and currently works on the Board of Trustees of McDaniel College. He served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as a visiting scholar and chairs the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s expert panel to evaluate the quality of compensation data collected from U.S. employers by the EEOC.

Executive Director of weVENTURE Women’s Business Center at
Florida Institute of Technology

Kathryn Rudloff serves as Executive Director of weVENTURE Women’s Business Center in the Bisk College of Business at Florida Institute of Technology. weVENTURE WBC is an SBA resource partner that provides low and no-cost business education and mentorship to female entrepreneurs. As Executive Director, Rudloff manages a team of business coaches that serve over 800 unique small business clients a year. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Women’s Business Centers. Before joining Florida Tech, Rudloff held positions as Executive Director for a local pro-business non-partisan small business advocacy organization and as District Director for the Congressman from FL-08. 

Rudloff holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from The Ohio State University, a Masters in Political Management from George Washington University, and is a candidate for a Doctor of Business Administration at Florida Institute of Technology. Her dissertation research looks at the impact state-level family policies have on female labor force participation and entrepreneurship. Rudloff is also a certified facilitator for Athena International and holds the license for TEDxFloridaTechWomen.

Heather Stephens

Associate Professor & Director of the Regional Research Institute
West Virginia University

Heather M. Stephens is the Director of the Regional Research Institute (RRI) as well as an Associate Professor of Resource Economics and Management and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics at West Virginia University. Her research is focused on examining issues related to regional economic development and the differences in the impact of policies across regions. Her current and past research has examined questions related to energy, environmental quality, entrepreneurship, health, and regional growth. Her prior work has been published in journals that include the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics, Growth and Change, Journal of Regional Science, Resource and Energy Economics and Small Business Economics.

She serves on the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Advisory Council and as the chair of the technical advisory committee for the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD). Previously, Dr. Stephens was an Assistant Professor of Economics and the Director of Economic Research at California State University, Long Beach. She also has prior experience working for a U.S. Congressman, on strategic partnership development for a Fortune 100 company, as a local economic development director, and on regional economic development and energy-related issues at a university-based applied research institute.

About the Conference

In 2024, community development staff from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and St. Louis are hosting a conference, Uneven Outcomes in the Labor Market: Understanding Trends and Identifying Solutions. The conference will convene a diverse network of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to examine inequities in labor market outcomes and explore the implications of disparities on aggregate economic performance, individual workers, and communities. They will also discuss new directions for policy and research.