James A. Riccio
Principal Research Fellow, Economic Mobility, Housing, and Communities

Riccio directs MDRC’s Economic Mobility, Housing, and Communities policy area, which tests innovative policies to improve labor market, human development, and quality-of-life outcomes for low-income populations, usually through randomized controlled trials. In addition to overseeing the work of his department, Riccio currently serves as the principal investigator for MDRC’s evaluation of the Family Rewards two-generation conditional cash transfer programs for low-income families in New York City and Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, under a contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, he is directing a test of an alternative rent policy designed to improve work outcomes for recipients of housing subsidies in four cities. From 2003 to 2011, Riccio led an MDRC-UK research consortium (including four British organizations as subcontractors) that designed and evaluated the UK Employment Retention and Advancement demonstration, at the time Britain’s largest and most comprehensive randomized trial in social policy, under a contract with the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). He now serves on an expert advisory panel for DWP’s evaluation of Universal Credit, Britain’s major new welfare reform initiative. Over his long career at MDRC, Riccio has also been a lead researcher on evaluations of a variety of welfare-to-work programs, employment programs for residents of public housing, and other initiatives. He holds a PhD in sociology from Princeton University.