Guiding principles

A national emphasis
The Yankelovich Center supports research on local and regional problems only to the degree that they express issues of national concern.

A focus on strategy rather than tactics
Much problem-solving research operates on the tactical level. For example, K-12 education research often focuses on isolated tactical issues such as class size, teacher training, the role of the school principal, teaching methods, testing, or a common core curriculum. The Yankelovich Center specializes in strategy — for example, how to gauge the relative importance of various tactics in improving overall student performance.

A multidisciplinary approach
No one social science discipline, be it economics, sociology, political science, or psychology, can solve any important national problem by itself. Interdisciplinary cooperation is needed.

Practice contributes to theory
The Yankelovich Center rejects the familiar distinction between basic and applied research in the social sciences because it implies that knowledge flows in only one direction, from theory to practice. Our premise is that it flows in both directions. Practice can inform theory.

Many of the nation's policy think tanks have a strong partisan leaning. But a Center dedicated to evidence-based solutions loses credibility if partisan bias sneaks into its practices and recommendations.

An added resource, not an alternative
The Yankelovich Center's purpose is to add a new resource for gaining social science knowledge. It is not intended to divert the division's emphasis away from theoretical knowledge.

The urgency of time
The scientific search for theoretical knowledge often neglects the urgency of time. The Yankelovich Center is dedicated to finding timely solutions to the problems it addresses.

Better understanding is not always the solution
The conventional wisdom dictates that better understanding is the primary road to problem-solving. Sometimes this is a valid assumption, but sometimes it is not. Research methods for finding effective interventions can differ from those designed to enhance understanding.


Lane Kenworthy

Lane Kenworthy studies the causes and consequences of living standards, poverty, inequality, mobility, employment, economic growth, social policy, taxes, public opinion, and politics in the United States and other affluent countries. His books include The Good Society (thegoodsociety.net), How Big Should Our Government Be? (2016), Social Democratic America (2014), Progress for the Poor (2011), Jobs with Equality (2008), Egalitarian Capitalism (2004), and In Search of National Economic Success (1995). Kenworthy is professor of sociology and Yankelovich Chair in Social Thought at UC San Diego.

Executive Committee

The Yankelovich Center's executive committee includes distinguished professors, campus partners, and community members. It oversees Center activities and evaluates seed funding proposals.

Julian Betts
Professor, Economics

Amanda Datnow
Associate Dean, Division of Social Sciences
Professor, Education Studies

Paul Drake (committee chair)
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Political Science
Former Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Jeff Elman
Professor, Cognitive Science
Former Dean, Division of Social Sciences

Lane Kenworthy
Director, Yankelovich Center
Professor, Sociology and Yankelovich Chair in Social Thought

David Lake
Professor, Political Science

Isaac Martin
Professor, Sociology

Carol Padden
Dean, Division of Social Sciences
Sanford I. Berman Endowed Professor, Department of Communication and Center for Research in Language

Alison Wishard Guerra
Professor, Education Studies

Daniel Yankelovich
Yankelovich Center Founder


Daniel Yankelovich

Daniel Yankelovich, a renowned social researcher and public opinion analyst, was the key figure in the establishment of the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research. He founded and led The New York Times/Yankelovich Poll, now called The New York Times/CBS News poll; Public Agenda, a public policy research organization; and DYG Inc., a research firm that tracks social trends. He was named by PR Week as one of the 10 most influential people of the past century in the arena of public affairs, communications, and public relations. Yankelovich is the author of dozens of books, including Wicked Problems, Workable Solutions: Lessons From a Public Life (2015). He has also taught psychology and social opinion at New York University and The New School for Social Research.


The Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research was created in 2012. It was made possible through a generous gift and continued financial support from Daniel Yankelovich. Since 2016 it has received additional financial support from UC San Diego.

David Lake, professor of political science, was the Center's director from 2012 to 2015. The current director is Lane Kenworthy.

Make a gift

To give to the Yankelovich Center, click on the "Give now" button below or contact Doug Kurtz, Senior Director of Development, tel 858.822.0805, email dpkurtz@ucsd.edu.

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Mailing address
The Yankelovich Center
University of California, San Diego
Social Sciences Building 472
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093

Our office is in the Social Sciences Building at UC San Diego. If coming by car, the best place to park is at the Hopkins Parking Structure, which is adjacent to our building. Type the following into your navigation app (works with Waze, Google Maps, and Apple Maps): "hopkins parking structure voigt ln la jolla ca."