Johnson Receives Grant from Washington Center for Equitable Growth

 September 2, 2021

Matthew S. Johnson, assistant professor of public policy and economics at the Sanford School, has received a grant of $65,000 from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.  

Matthew S. Johnson, assistant professor of public policy

With co-researcher David Levine, professor of business administration at the University of California, Berkeley, Johnson is seeking to understand how enforcement of government safety regulations affects workers’ wages in the U.S.  They will also examine how the effect differs across groups of workers based on income, race and ethnicity.  If inspections improve health and safety, but lower wages, then the effects on workers’ well-being may be mixed. On the other hand, inspections could increase wages by reducing the chance that workers suffer serious injuries that render them unable to work. While this question has substantial implications for policy, there is little evidence to date due to empirical challenges that have plagued prior studies.

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth grants demonstrate the center’s commitment to funding cutting-edge research on pressing policy concerns. This year’s grants go to researchers examining issues of structural racism, racial inequality, the labor market, climate change and economics and child care.

Johnson researches how regulations, public policies, and other institutions affect labor markets. His current work focuses on occupational safety and health and on understanding the determinants of power dynamics between workers and employers.