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The Center on Policy Initiatives, a labor-friendly San Diego economic think tank, announced yesterday (March 19) that Dr. Peter Brownell is joining the organization’s staff as its research director.

“Dr. Brownell comes to CPI from the RAND Corporation, an international nonprofit think tank that is well known for its rigorous empirical research on a wide range of issues relevant to public policy,” says president and executive director Claire Crawford in a post on the group’s website.

Though Brownell lives in San Diego with his family, he has been working out of RAND’s Santa Monica headquarters as an associate social scientist. He was educated at UC Berkeley and holds a PhD in sociology and a Master’s degree in demography, and has been a visiting research fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and a guest scholar at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, both at UC San Diego.

According to Brownell’s RAND profile:

His research focuses primarily on immigrants and immigration, with a particular focus on migration between Mexico and the United States. Past projects have addressed the factors related to Mexican immigrants' wages in the United States and the role of U.S. policy in structuring immigrants' labor market outcomes and decisions regarding migration and settlement. Other recent and current projects address issues such as the effects of the recent recession on return migration flows to Mexico, the role of selective migration in the “Hispanic paradox” in birth outcomes, racial and ethnic differences in factors related to the intergenerational transmission of cigarette smoking, and comparison across U.S. surveys in estimates of the prevalence of childhood obesity.

In recent work, a CNN article co-authored by Brownell examines illegal immigration and suggests that future immigration control dollars would be best spent targeting undocumented workers and their employers in the workplace, rather than expanding investment in border security.

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