Rachel Sederberg is passionate about mining giant datasets to find the patterns and insights that help solve problems for individuals, groups, and labor markets.
Sederberg, who grew up on Boston’s South Shore, chose Northeastern to pursue her PhD in economics — with a focus on labor economics—because of the small size of the program, the close relationships forged between students and their professors and advisors, and the emphasis on real-world applications. Collaborating with advisor Alicia Sasser Modestino, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics, Sederberg used quantitative and qualitative tools to help the city of Boston evaluate a program aimed at helping young adults build or improve their credit scores, an important first step on the road to long-term economic stability.
A project she did with Burning Glass Technologies, a leading job market analytics technology firm, seeks to better understand changes in the skills required for jobs as the labor market expands and contracts over time, changes that have important public policy implications.
Sederberg’s dissertation focuses on several subgroups of the labor market and how their behavior reveals truths about the larger economy. One group she examines is involuntary part-time workers— those who want to work full-time, but can only find part-time work. Her research shows that employers are turning to part-time employment as an alternative to temporary layoffs, a popular strategy in the past.
Sederberg is president of the Economics Graduate Student Association and has received multiple grants from Northeastern to present her work at conferences across the country. She is also senior co-chair of DIVERSEcon, a student-led group that seeks to increase diversity in the economics profession.