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Elizabeth Linos

Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Elizabeth Linos


Elizabeth Linos is a behavioral economist and public management scholar. Her research focuses on how to improve government by focusing on its people. Specifically, her studies consider how we can improve diversity in recruitment and selection, and how different work environments affect performance and motivation in government. Her research has been published in academic journals including the Journal for Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART), Public Administration, JAMA, the British Medical Journal and others. Her work has also been highlighted in media outlets include the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, Governing magazine, and Slate. As the former VP and Head of Research and Evaluation at the Behavioral Insights Team in North America, she worked with city governments across the US to improve programs using behavioral science and to build capacity around rigorous evaluation. Prior to this role, Elizabeth was a policy advisor to the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, focusing on social innovation and public sector reform. She has also worked for the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), evaluating and designing innovative social programs in Bangladesh, Morocco, and France. Dr. Linos holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, where she also completed her A.B. in Government and Economics, magna cum laude with highest honors.


Contact Dr. Linos at: elinos (at) berkeley.edu

Other Affiliations

  • California Policy Lab
  • Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL)

Curriculum Vitae

Download a PDF (182KB, updated 12-14-2018)

Areas of Expertise

  • Behavioral Economics
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Management
  • Stereotyping, Prejudice & Discrimination
  • Civil Servants
  • Motivation and Performance
  • Diversity in the Workplace
  • Recruitment and Retention

Last updated on 12/17/2018

Selected Publications

  • Physician mothers’ experience of workplace discrimination: a qualitative analysis

    Halley M., Rustagi A., Torres J., Linos E., Plaut V., Mangurian C., Choo E., Linos E. 2018. Physician Mothers’ Experience of Workplace Discrimination: A Qualitative Analysis. British Medical Journal (BMJ). 363:k4926

    Objectives To report woman physicians’ experiences, in their own words, of discrimination based on their role as a mother.

    Design Qualitative analysis of physician mothers’ free-text responses to the open question: “We want to hear your story and experience. Please share” included in questions about workplace discrimination. Three analysts iteratively formulated a structured codebook, then applied codes after inter-coder reliability scores indicated high concordance. The relationships among themes and sub-themes were organized into a conceptual model illustrated by exemplary quotes.

    Participants Respondents to an anonymous, voluntary online survey about the health and wellbeing of physician mothers posted on a Facebook group, the Physician Moms Group, an online community of US physicians who identify as mothers.

    Results We analyzed 947 free-text responses. Participants provide diverse and vivid descriptions of experiences of maternal discrimination. Gendered job expectations, financial inequalities (including lower pay than equally qualified colleagues and more unpaid work), limited opportunities for advancement, lack of support during the pregnancy and postpartum period, and challenging work-life balance are some of the key themes identified. In addition, participants’ quotes show several potential structural drivers of maternal discrimination and describe the downstream consequences of maternal discrimination on the physician herself, her career, family, and the healthcare system.

    Conclusions These findings provide a view of maternal discrimination directly from the perspective of those who experience it. Women physicians report a range of previously uncharacterized ways in which they experience maternal discrimination. While certain aspects of these experiences are consistent with those reported by women across other professions, there are unique aspects of medical training and the medical profession that perpetuate maternal discrimination.

    PDF (4KB)

  • Increasing diversity in radiation oncology: a call to action

    Nead K., Linos E., Vapiwala N. 2018. Increasing Diversity in Radiation Oncology: A Call to Action. Advances in Radiation Oncology. December 6.

    PDF (4KB)

  • Increasing Take-up of Cal Grants

    Linos E., Reddy V., and Rothstein J. 2018. Increasing Take-up of Cal Grants. In Designing Financial Aid for California’s Future. The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) Research Report. November.

    PDF (4KB)

  • Simple Changes to Job Ads Can Help Recruit More Police Officers of Color

    Linos E. 2018. Simple Changes to Job Ads Can Help Recruit More Police Officers of Color. Harvard Business Review. April 3.

    PDF (480KB)

  • Paid Family and Childbearing Leave Policies at Top US Medical Schools

    Riano N.S., Linos E., Accurso E.C., Sung D., Linos E., Simard J.F. and Mangurian, C., 2018. Paid Family and Childbearing Leave Policies at Top US Medical SchoolsJournal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 319(6), pp.611-614.

    Retaining women in academic medicine is challenging, despite gender parity in medical training. Child-rearing and differential preferences on work-life balance may contribute to sex differences in retention in medicine.1 Retaining women during childbearing years is central to gender parity, as even short workforce interruptions can have long-term consequences—and may partially explain the gender wage gap. Our goal was to examine variations in childbearing and family leave policies at top US medical schools.

    PDF (4KB)

  • More Than Public Service: A Field Experiment on Job Advertisements and Diversity in the Police

    Linos E., 2018. More Than Public Service: A Field Experiment on Job Advertisements and Diversity in the Police. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 28(1), pp.67-85.

    There is a human capital crisis looming in the public sector as fewer and fewer people show interest in government jobs. At the same time, many public sector organizations struggle with increasing the diversity of their workforce. Although many institutional forces contribute to the challenge, part of the solution is in how government recruits. This study presents the results of a field experiment aimed at attracting more and different people to apply to a police force by varying job advertisements in a postcard. The results suggest that focusing on public service motivation (PSM) messages is ineffective at attracting candidates that would not have applied anyway. Rather, messages that focus on the personal benefits of applying to the job—either emphasizing the challenge of the job or the career benefits—are three times as effective at getting individuals to apply as the control, without an observable loss in applicant quality. These messages are particularly effective for people of color and women, thereby supporting a key policy goal of the police to increase diversity of applicants.

    PDF (4KB)

  • Levelling the playing field in police recruitment: Evidence from a field experiment on test performance

    Linos E., Reinhard J., and Ruda S., 2017. Levelling the playing field in police recruitment: Evidence from a field experiment on test performance. Public Administration, 95(4), pp.943-956.

    How to increase diversity in the police is an unanswered question that has received significant political and media attention. One area of intervention is the recruitment process itself. This study reports the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in a police force that was experiencing a disproportionate drop in minority applicants during one particular test. Drawing on insights from the literatures on stereotype threat, belonging uncertainty and values affirmation exercises, we redesigned the wording on the email inviting applicants to participate in the test. The results show a 50 per cent increase in the probability of passing the test for minority applicants in the treatment group, with no effect on white applicants. Therefore, the intervention closed the racial gap in the pass rate without lowering the recruitment standard or changing the assessment questions.

    PDF (4KB)

  • Innovation with field experiments: Studying organizational behaviors in actual organizations

    Hauser O., Linos E., Rogers T. 2017 Innovation with Field Experiments: Studying Organizational Behaviors in Actual Organizations. Research in Organizational Behavior.

    Organizational scholarship centers on understanding organizational context, usually captured through field studies, as well as determining causality, typically with laboratory experiments. We argue that field experiments can bridge these approaches, bringing causality to field research and developing organizational theory in novel ways. We present a taxonomy that proposes when to use an audit field experiment (AFE), procedural field experiment (PFE) or innovation field experiment (IFE) in organizational research and argue that field experiments are more feasible than ever before. With advances in technology, behavioral data has become more available and randomized changes are easier to implement, allowing field experiments to more easily create value—and impact—for scholars and organizations alike.

    PDF (4KB)

  • Using Behavioral Science to Improve the Government Workforce.

    Linos E. 2016. Using Behavioral Science to Improve the Government Workforce. Oxford Government Review (1).

    PDF (4KB)

  • A Head for Hiring: The Behavioural Science of Recruitment and Selection

    Linos E., Reinhard J. 2015. A Head for Hiring: The Behavioural Science of Recruitment and Selection. Chartered Institute for Professional Development (CIPD) Research Report.

    PDF (4KB)

  • Do conditional cash transfer programs shift votes? Evidence from the Honduran PRAF

    Linos E. 2013. Do Randomized Social Programs Shift Votes? Experimental Evidence from the Honduran PRAF. Electoral Studies. 32(4):864-874.

    How do national social programs influence local voting? This study utilizes the experimental set up of a conditional cash transfer program to show that small, targeted cash transfers can have large electoral effects. The Honduran PRAFprogram allocated an average of $18 per capita per year to poor households within municipalities that were randomly assigned to receive the program. Although the program was administered at the national level, the program increased an incumbent mayor's re-election probabilities by 39%, without significantly influencing voting behavior in presidential elections. Moreover, the evidence suggests that transferring cash to poor households were more effective at increasing political support than interventions providing public goods for poor villages.

    PDF (4KB)

  • Screening Programme Evaluation Applied to Airport Security

    Linos E., Linos E., Colditz G. 2007. Screening Programme Evaluation Applied to Airport Security. British Medical Journal. 335:1290-1292.

    PDF (4KB)

Making Government Work with Elizabeth Linos

Making Government Work with Elizabeth Linos

Henry E. Brady, Elizabeth Linos

Event: In the Living Room with Henry E. Brady

Date: April 11, 2018 Duration: 28 minutes



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