- Leveraging big data to understand how climate change affects economic productivity and mobility.
- Combining economic theory with quasi-experimental research methods.
- Working with policymakers to facilitate implementation of adaptation policy.
Meet Our Team
R. Jisung Park
Director, Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Graduate Research Fellow
Graduate Research Fellow
Undergraduate Research Fellow
Varun Sarma Seetamraju
External Undergraduate Research Fellow
Professor of Public Policy;
Director of the Luskin Center for Innovation
R. Jisung Park is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy. He received his training as an environmental and labor economist at Harvard University (PhD in Economics), where he was an NSF Fellow. Park’s research explores the labor and human capital impacts of extreme temperature, the prospects for adaptation to climate change, and the interplay between environmental change and labor market mobility. Jisung received his undergraduate education in economics and political science from Columbia University (’09), and went on to pursue master’s degrees in Environmental Change and Management (’10) and Development Economics (’11) at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He has served in an advisory capacity for the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NYC Department of Health, and the UK Department for International Development.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Nora Pankratz is a postdoctoral scholar at the Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Center for Innovation. Prior to joining UCLA and the Climate Adaptation and Equity Initiative, she completed her dissertation in Finance at Maastricht University with research visits at Toulouse School of Economics, Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and 427 Climate Solutions in Berkeley, California. Her research focuses on economic adaptation as well as the financial economics of climate change.
Graduate Research Fellows
Paul Stainier is a first-year PhD student interested in contributing to our understanding of food security in the face of climate change. He is hoping to use econometric and other data analysis techniques to explore topics including food access and affordability, sustainable food systems, and the nutritional impacts of climate change. As a graduate research fellow in UCLA Luskin Center’s Climate Adaptation and Equity Initiative, Paul works on questions relevant to the labor impacts of climate change. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Math from Harvard University. In his free time, Paul enjoys cooking, watching and playing soccer, and biking along the coast.
Kassandra Hernandez is a second-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) student at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and holds a BA in Philosophy, with a minor in Labor and Workplace Studies, from UCLA. Interested in pursuing a Ph.D. upon graduation, Kassandra is passionate about equity– defined broadly– within low-wage labor.
Undergraduate Research Fellows
David Scolari is a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Economics and minoring in Mathematics and Environmental Studies. He has worked as a research assistant for professor Jisung Park since the summer of 2019. On the weekends, he enjoys paddling for UCLA’s Dragon Boat team.
Varun Seetamraju is a second year undergraduate student studying Economics-Political Science at Columbia University. Varun aspires to have a career in public service to tackle issues he’s passionate about, such as income inequality and climate change. In his free time, Varun likes playing soccer, Bhangra dancing, playing chess and going for hikes.
J.R. DeShazo is the Director of the Luskin Center for Innovation at UCLA. He also is a Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Public Policy in the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA, where he is an expert in economics, public finance, and organizational governance. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from Harvard University and a M.Sc. in Economics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He was the Director of the Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA for five years (2004-2011). He was awarded Professor of the Year, Masters Program in Public Policy, UCLA in 2001, 2005, and 2007. Dr. DeShazo’s recent research has focused on local public finance, regulatory reform, climate change policy, and solar energy policy. He advises the Los Angeles City Council and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, among key agencies. He has previously advised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations, McArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, among others.
Alan Barreca joined the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability as an Associate Professor in 2017. Before that, he worked in the Economics Department at Tulane University in New Orleans. Alan earned a PhD in Economics from UC Davis in 2008 and has published articles on a range of issues relating to human health and our environment since then. Alan mainly investigates the reasons why people living in certain climates have more economic advantages and better health than others. His ongoing research has helped identify ways we can mitigate both the costs of weather shocks today – and – the future costs of climate change.