LIFE-M Launches Undergraduate Research Lab

The LIFE-M project, short for the Longitudinal, Intergenerational Family Electronic Microdata Project, is pleased to announce the creation of a new research lab. In June 2021, the LIFE-M Lab appointed two undergraduate Research Fellows, Li Zhijian and Zach Wrubel, to conduct research on intergenerational mobility and health and the long-run effects of early childhood interventions and changes in public policies.

Professor Martha Bailey, the PI of the project, notes that LIFE-M combines U.S. vital records (birth, marriage, and death certificates) with census information using cutting-edge supervised machine learning techniques. With funding from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, the project has created millions of high-quality longitudinal and intergenerational links for four generations of Americans, beginning in the late 19th and covering most of the 20th century.

Research Fellows work under the day-to-day leadership of economics PhD students, Alex Coblin and Joaquin Serrano, and post-doctoral fellow, Peter Lin. “The best part of working with this lab has been getting to work alongside PhD students and postdocs everyday. Having daily meetings to get feedback on our code, discuss our findings, and present our research has helped me learn so much in such a short period of time,” says Zach. Li notes, “Working with historical data can yield unexpected gems – the history nerd in me was quite excited to learn about anachronistic professions like “bootblacks” and “charwomen” when we were working with occupational codes in the 1940 Census.”

Zach and Li highly recommend this opportunity to anyone looking to apply their economics knowledge and gain valuable research experience in a team setting. Whether your interests lie in economics, history, data science, public policy, or somewhere in between, the LIFE-M Fellows program has something for everyone. The team expects this experience to continue in the fall term. To read more about participating in the Fellows program, click here. Interested students should apply by AUGUST 31, 2021 here.