Elizabeth Linos, Professor

Open (1) Front-Line Worker Burnout in the City of Denver

Open. Apprentices needed for the fall semester. Enter your application on the web beginning August 15th. The deadline to apply is Monday, August 27th at 9 AM.

This project aims to understand and address burnout among front-line workers in the City of Denver’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and Sheriff’s Department (DSD).

Front-line workers in the public sector, such as social workers and correctional officers, are tasked with serving some of the country’s most vulnerable populations, in situations that often involve very high risk of trauma. These work conditions can lead to burnout—employees feeling exhausted, cynical about their work, and lacking in motivation. Not only is this troublesome for the individual workers, but employee burnout can also affect the residents they’re meant to serve.

In collaboration with the City of Denver, this project consists of two phases. In the first phase, we aim to understand the work experience and decision-making processes among social workers and correctional officers. This research involves rigorous quantitative analysis of administrative data as well as qualitative interviews to understand the relationship between employee characteristics, absenteeism, management practices, and employee decision-making.

In the second phase, we will identify a behavioral intervention meant to mitigate burnout-related outcomes such as absenteeism or sick leave. We will implement this intervention through a randomized control trial, then evaluate the results.

Research assistants will have the opportunity to gain experience in behavioral economic theory and practice, randomized control trial (RCT) implementation, administrative data analysis, and academic research in public policy by participating in the following tasks:

- Conducting literature reviews related to burnout, behavioral interventions in the workplace;
- Cleaning and analyzing administrative data in STATA;
- Analyzing qualitative interview data;
- Writing and editing policy briefs and grant applications;
- Supporting the project as needed.


Qualifications: Applicants should have an interest in public policy, behavioral economics and/or randomized control trials. Experience conducting literature reviews, analyzing data in STATA is required. Experience assisting in research design implementation preferred.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs