Entry Date:
April 22, 2019

Work of the Future Initiative

Principal Investigator David Autor


The newest initiative from J-PAL North America, a research center in MIT’s Department of Economics, the Work of the Future Initiative seeks to identify effective, evidence-based strategies that increase opportunity, reduce disparities, and help all workers navigate the work of the future.

Millions of workers throughout the industrialized and developing worlds could be affected by automation, rising inequality, stagnating educational attainment, and other labor market trends in the coming decades. Many workers lack access to jobs that pay living wages, have jobs with insufficient benefits or protections, or lack the necessary skills or education to progress within their industries in the face of technological change.

J-PAL’s newest initiative seeks to fill this gap by generating new research to help answer these important questions. It will catalyze this kind of rigorous, actionable evidence through an innovation competition model and a researcher-facing request for proposals (RFP).

The J-PAL North America Work of the Future Initiative supports randomized evaluations of strategies and innovations that address the changing nature of work in North America.

Organizations interested in evaluating the impact of their program are invited to submit letters of interest through our Innovation Competition. Selected partners receive technical assistance from J-PAL staff in designing an evaluation, matchmaking with J-PAL’s network of affiliated researchers, and flexible funding to get an evaluation off the ground. If you’re interested in learning more about working with J-PAL, please contact Initiative Manager Toby Chaiken.

Affiliated researchers can submit proposals for funding to conduct a randomized evaluation during our RFP cycles. By spurring research on effective ways to help workers thrive in today’s changing labor market, J-PAL’s newly launched Work of the Future Initiative aims to center worker voices and concerns and create a more equitable future of work.