Undergraduate Fellows Annual Theme

The Future of Work: Labor Policy and the Post-COVID Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic had a deep and lasting impact on wage laborers - workers who earn their living by selling their labor. Already facing employment insecurity and poor working conditions, these workers endured layoffs, rightsizing, and wage freezes during the pandemic, all of which have a direct affect on their livelihoods, especially those of women and people of color. Over the course of the year, the Fellows will study what can be done to build a stronger workforce and a more equitable economy.

As part of their study of this theme, the Undergraduate Fellows will:

  • Examine labor strikes to understand workers’ needs, expectations, and demands
  • Explore the connection between civil rights and labor rights
  • Study how wage labor changed over 100 years, from the Great Depression to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Learn how the “gig economy” benefits companies but provides neither fixed income nor healthcare benefits for workers
  • Compare wage labor and labor policies in the United States to China and India
  • Develop policy recommendations that help protect the interests of workers
  • Design inclusive policies and practices to prevent strikes, improve working conditions, and increase productivity

Previous themes

2021-22: U.S.-China Relations: Is a New Cold War Coming? Is It Already Here?

2020-21: The Domino Theory and Eisenhower's Foreign Policy

2019-20: The Government We Pay For

2018-19: Common Security, Common Prosperity

2017-18: Transportation & Infrastructure

2016-17: Refugee Policy

2015-16: Energy Policy

2014-15: Intelligence Policy

2013-14: Space Policy

2012-13: Presidential Elections