Microeconomics, Macro Benefits

Claremont Graduate University has long been unique in graduate higher education. It’s a school where students come to fuel their curiosity and develop their passions and focus on new ideas and solutions.

Associate Professor of Economic Sciences Greg DeAngelo is a prime example of how CGU faculty work with graduates to ignite solutions to broad challenges. Under DeAngelo’s leadership, the Computational Justice Lab (CJL) uses data science tools to help local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies improve outcomes and create a positive impact on judicial actions.

“There is a difference between the way laws are written and how they’re applied,” DeAngelo explained. The lab is attempting “a new way to address those differences.”

While the legal system is considered a cause-and-effect situation, for DeAngelo, it has become both a calling and a career track. “I’m not, like, a real economist,” he said. “When people think of an economist, they tend to think of financial economists. I’m not one of those. I’m a micro-economist, one of the technical ‘mathy’ types. One who loves to crunch reams of data to benefit the greater public good.”

Last November, the Charles Koch Foundation awarded $5.4 million to the lab, which the CJL will use to expand its data science outreach as well as support more students in the lab.

“The grant,” DeAngelo explained, “will enable the lab to educate and empower a whole new generation of data scientists.”

During times of protest and a pandemic, the value of data—clean data—couldn’t be more important. Policy decisions based on faulty data neglect real, causal connections and lead to inaccuracies instead. Take, for example, systemic racism.

“Identifying something like institutional racism causally requires a deep skillset,” DeAngelo says. “Anecdotes may be provocative and suggestive, but showing cause requires much deeper analysis. Getting to ‘A causes B’ is a high standard.”

To that end, students serving as lab researchers gain first-hand experience in developing synergies between the productions of research and the ability to use that research to inform and assist millions of people interacting with public entities every year. That includes the current impact of COVID-19 on state and local resources; students in the lab are now involved in a project to streamline Los Angeles County’s services health referral system.

Through several partnerships with government agencies, DeAngelo says the lab is already using data science tools to assist local prosecutors’ offices in understanding outcomes of criminal cases and the impact of judicial and prosecutorial actions.

DeAngelo and the researchers in the Computational Justice Lab are finding solutions to real-world problems.

graphic of earth with financial charts
Learn More About the Division of Politics & Economics

The Division of Politics & Economics (DPE) advances applied research that matters in the real world.

A distinctive feature of our division is our interdisciplinary approach—combining economic reasoning, understanding of politics, and public policy analysis across three integrated departments: Economic Sciences, International Studies, and Politics & Government. Our graduates are trained for top careers in academia, government, and the non-profit and private sectors.

Learn More

CGU Ignite: Excellence

Read the stories of our students, faculty, and alumni who are transforming the world around them.

View All