James A. Riccio
Principal Research Fellow

As Principal Research Fellow, Riccio spearheads the development of new projects, particularly in the areas of economic mobility, housing, and communities. From 2004 to 2021, he directed 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. He serves as the principal investigator for a number of large studies, including evaluations of a community transformation initiative called Purpose Built Communities; the Supporting Moves to Opportunity residential mobility program for housing voucher recipients in Milwaukee and St. Louis and a related program in Chicago; two HUD-sponsored demonstrations testing alternative rent policies for housing voucher recipients and public housing residents in a variety of cities; and a workforce coaching program for subsidized tenants in Baltimore and Houston, called MyGoals for Employment Success. He previously directed MDRC’s original Jobs-Plus employment initiative for public housing residents; helped design a study of a community change initiative in Chicago called the New Communities Program; and led teams designing and evaluating conditional cash transfer programs in New York City and Memphis. He also led an MDRC-United Kingdom research consortium to design and test a workforce development initiative called the UK Employment Retention and Advancement Demonstration. He is on the Board of Directors of The Community Builders, a national, nonprofit low-income housing developer, and serves on a research methods advisory panel for the UK Department of Work and Pensions. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton.