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Influencing economic policy

Mehraan Keval always felt destined for a career in public service. And his commitment to work on policies aimed at reducing the gaps between rich and poor strengthened as he became more engaged with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) during his senior year at the university.

As the first recipient of a SIEPR postgraduate fellowship funded by our donors, he now has the opportunity — and support from Stanford faculty — to help shape the course of one such policy.

Join us as we follow Mehraan through the year in Stockton, Calif., where he’ll analyze a pilot program that will give $500 a month to randomly selected low-income households with no strings attached.

How will recipients use the money? Are their standards of living improving? Is this universal basic income program sustainable? Does it make sense for other cities? Those are some of the data-driven questions Mehraan will ask and assess as Stockton officials — led by Mayor Michael Tubbs, also a Stanford alum — decide whether the policy works.

Mehraan will work closely with SIEPR Director Mark Duggan on analyzing the data he collects. The mentorship will hone Mehraan’s research skills and allow SIEPR to deepen its investment in the next generation of policy experts.

You’re invited along as Mehraan navigates the front lines of policy analysis. We will periodically update this page with videos and other material that will highlight his experiences, discoveries and challenges of doing work that can have a big impact.

“I think public service was always in the cards for me.”

Mehraan Keval, ’18

Meet Mehraan Keval, SIEPR’s first postgraduate fellow, as he explains what motivates him to work on Stockton’s universal basic income program that aims to alleviate poverty.

“If we can make policies better, that would be an incredible success. And I’m determined we do that.”

Mark Duggan, SIEPR Director

Getting ready to graduate Stanford and begin his fellowship in Stockton, Mehraan discusses the expectations of his fellowship with Mark Duggan.

“We don’t know what works unless we measure it. And that’s where SIEPR can be very helpful.”

Michael Tubbs, Stockton Mayor

Mehraan gets to work on Stockton’s universal basic income rollout, while the city’s mayor explains what he expects to learn from Mehraan's analysis of this policy experiment.

“SIEPR is involved directly with what’s on the ground in a major city.”

Maya Rossin-Slater, SIEPR Faculty Fellow

As Mehraan develops a deeper understanding of universal basic income, Stanford faculty discuss the impact social scientists have in creating sound economic policy.