PRGS Celebrates 300th Graduate

Jim Burgdorf

The Pardee RAND Graduate School recently awarded its 300th Ph.D. in policy analysis to Jim Burgdorf (cohort '06). Burgdorf is now working as a staff researcher in family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. His dissertation, Labor Market Outcomes of Health Shocks and Dependent Coverage Expansion, presents findings from his three-part study to disentangle the effects of employer-provided health insurance on labor market outcomes.

Burgdorf's work was particularly challenging because of the high level of media attention to policy reform in this area and limited data availability. His perseverance paid off with a very important finding pertaining to state-level dependent insurance expansion reforms for young adults.

The evidence indicated that the reforms have had a more limited impact on the extent to which young adults are insured than previous research has indicated. He found a larger effect of the federal-level initiative in terms of the number of young adults insured.

Burgdorf's dissertation committee was chaired by Rosalie Pacula; the other committee members were Mireille Jacobson of RAND and Todd Gilmer of the University of California, San Diego.

About PRGS

PRGS was established in 1970 and was one of the earliest graduate programs created to train future leaders in public policy. The school's average enrollment is now more than 100 students, making it the largest public policy Ph.D. program in the country. Around 20–25 new students enter the program each year.

PRGS students represent at least 23 different countries, and alumni often go on to work for government agencies, other academic institutions, research organizations (including RAND), leading firms in the private sector, and nonprofit organizations. During their time at PRGS, students work closely with RAND staff and contribute to RAND studies as assistant policy analysts.

Graduates' dissertation topics reflect the range of research conducted at RAND — from health care to education, national security, transportation policy, socioeconomics, international issues, and beyond. For a look at how PRGS alumni are making a difference, visit our Alumni Careers page.