Policy Research Specialist

Program Area

Future of Work & Workers

Area of Expertise

Public finance and fiscal policy
Economic and workforce development
Public sector work and workers
Urban planning

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About Sara

Sara Hinkley is a specialist in the Low-Wage Work program, where she focuses on technology and the public sector. She has an extensive research background in labor, workforce, and economic development policy in California and nationally. She has worked for the California Labor Federation, Justice for Janitors, and Good Jobs First developing policies to improve opportunities for low-income people. She was a postdoctoral scholar at the Labor Center and formerly served as associate director of the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Sara has provided research consultation for the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, the Goldman School of Public Policy, the Center for Community Innovation, the County of Los Angeles, and Inclusive Economics.

Sara is also a lecturer in Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, where she teaches courses in economic analysis and community and economic development. She holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley, a master’s degree in regional planning from UNC Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College.

Learn more about Sara on her personal website.

    Sara Hinkley

    Technology in the public sector and the future of government work

    This report explores how governments use technology, what drives technology adoption, and how technologies affect public sector workers and the delivery of public services. Using examples across local, state, and federal governments, the report finds that transparency and accountability have lagged behind rapid technology adoption in the wake of COVID-19, and that public sector workers play a critical role in ensuring that technology is used to strengthen the ability of governments to provide quality and equitable public services.

    Sara Hinkley

    Evaluating the Impact of Proposed Changes to Oakland’s Gross Receipts Tax

    In this post we evaluate the possible economic impacts of a proposed restructuring of Oakland’s Gross Receipts Tax, including an evaluation of job impact estimates made by the task force consultant—Blue Sky Consulting Group—and research on what factors affect business location and expansion. We also discuss the importance of strengthening the city’s revenue base to support Oakland’s continued recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of improving public services to support business growth and retention.

    Sara Hinkley

    California can’t afford to repeat the Great Recession: State spending is critical to economic recovery

    California’s 2021-22 budget will have an enormous impact on the nature of California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor’s 2021-22 budget proposal would restore some critical funding for public health and education, but it will not be sufficient to get California’s economy and low-income Californians back on track. To avoid a prolonged economic downturn, and further damage to California’s most vulnerable residents, California needs to make a much more significant investment in the drivers of economic growth.

    Sara Hinkley

    Public Sector Impacts of the Great Recession and COVID-19

    This brief summarizes the Great Recession’s impact on public employment and the public sector job losses driven by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Our analysis points to the importance of focusing on the public sector as policymakers respond to the COVID-19 crisis.