Nelson Lim

Photo of Nelson Lim
Senior Sociologist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Off Site Office

Education

Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology, University of California, Los Angeles; B.A. in economics, University of California, Los Angeles

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Overview

Nelson Lim is a senior social scientist at the RAND Corporation, and has worked with federal and local government agencies to improve their human resource management (HRM) practices for close to two decades. His clients include the Department of Defense, the United States Armed Forces, the United States Secret Service, National Security Agency, the Department of Justice, the City of Los Angeles, and the City of San Diego, as well as several large corporations. He applies rigorous quantitative as well as qualitative methods to uncover root causes of HRM challenges of his clients ranging from outreach, recruiting, talent management, workforce development, and retention. In 2009, Lim led the Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC), a congressionally mandated commission to examine challenges to improve the diversity of top military leaders as the research director. The MLDC provided 20 specific recommendations to the United States Congress and the President of the United States. Congress has adopted the MLDC recommendations in a series of the National Defense Authorization Acts since 2011, and DoD accepted and implemented the MLDC recommendations. In addition to working with federal agencies and large corporations, Lim has worked with cities specifically to assist police and fire departments with their recruiting. For example, he assisted the Los Angeles Police Department and the San Diego Police Department to identify potential barriers for minorities and women to complete the recruiting process and improve the recruiting and diversity of their recruits. Lim earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Recent Projects

  • Improving diversity among the military leadership
  • Effective practices of diversity management in the private sector
  • Impact of military service on employment condition of military spouses
  • Improving police department recruiting practices

Selected Publications

Nelson Lim, Abigail Haddad, Dwayne Butler, and Kate Giglio, First Steps Toward Improving DoD STEM Workforce Diversity: Response to the 2012 Department of Defense STEM Diversity Summit, RAND Corporation (RR-329-OSD), 2013

Kirsten Keller, Nelson Lim, Lisa M. Harrington, Kevin O'Neill, and Abigail Haddad, The Mix of Military and Civilian Faculty at the United States Air Force Academy: Finding a Sustainable Balance for Enduring Success, RAND Corporation (MG-1237-AF), 2013

"State and Local Law Enforcement," in Jessica Saunders, Carl Matthies, and Nelson Lim, Debates on Immigration, Sage Academic Publishing, 2012

Nelson Lim, Carl Matthies, and Kirsten Keller, Workforce Development for Big-City Law Enforcement Agencies, RAND Corporation (OP-357), 2012

Jessica Saunders, Nelson Lim, and Donald Prosnitz, Enforcing Immigration Law at the State and Local Levels: A Public Policy Dilemma, RAND Corporation (OP-273), 2010

Nelson Lim, Carl Matthies, Greg Ridgeway, and Brian Gifford, To Protect and To Serve: Enhancing the Efficiency of LAPD Recruiting, RAND Corporation (MG-881-RMPF), 2009

Nelson Lim, Abigail Haddad, and Lindsay Daugherty, Implementation of the DoD Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan: A Framework for Change through Accountability, RAND Corporation (RR-333-OSD), 2013

Nelson Lim, Louis T. Mariano, Amy G. Cox, David Schulker, and Lawrence M. Hanser, Improving Demographic Diversity in the U.S. Air Force Officer Corps, RAND Corporation (RR-495-AF) (forthcoming)

Honors & Awards

  • President’s Award, 2004, RAND
  • PAF Research Excellence Award, 2009, RAND
  • IACP/Sprint Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Award, Honorable Mention, 2009, IACP

Commentary

  • Police form a line after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri, November 24, 2014

    Progress After Ferguson? Good Ideas Need Good Implementation

    President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing has done a great service by providing dozens of sound recommendations—good ideas that could help avoid another Ferguson. Now we need good implementation to go along with them.

    Mar 9, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • A man holding a 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' pose and wearing an 'I Can't Breathe' mask outside City Hall, New York City, December 10, 2014

    Can Big Data Help Build Trust in the Police?

    After two controversial grand jury decisions not to indict police in the deaths of unarmed African Americans, a White House task force has 90 days to provide recommendations for promoting accountability among law enforcement agencies to cultivate trust between police and communities. The timeline may seem impossible, but, sadly, these issues are old and the solutions are well known.

    Dec 11, 2014 Newsweek

  • Young man working at computer outside

    The Realities of Silicon Valley's Lack of Workforce Diversity

    Major Silicon Valley tech firms have released statistics indicating their workforces are largely made up of white men. Corporate America is on the receiving end of a complex chain of social and educational factors that continue to leave minorities behind in terms of college graduation, and both minorities and women behind in terms of STEM degrees.

    Oct 2, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle

  • Pickpocket stealing a woman's wallet

    Crime Victims: Silicon Valley Tech Industry Can Get Them the Help They Need

    A broader approach is needed to better address the needs of millions of American victims of crimes like sexual assault, family violence, financial exploitation, gun violence, identity theft, burglary and stalking. And that's where Silicon Valley's tech community can step up.

    Aug 11, 2014 San Jose Mercury News

  • The Decline of Racial Profiling

    President Obama called the arrest of Professor Henry Gates a "teachable moment." This is a moment to learn the facts of race and policing these days. Racial profiling has indeed been an ugly reality for many years. But our research finds little evidence that it continues to be a major problem, write Greg Ridgeway and Nelson Lim.

    Jul 30, 2009 CNN.com

Publications