Frequently Asked Questions 


How can I apply?
Most positions require that you complete the J-PAL/IPA common application, which includes a CV/resume, statement or purpose (cover letter), transcripts, an explanation of international and developing country experience, languages, and a list of courses taken in economics, mathematics, and statistics. Some positions also require letters of recommendation. On the common application, you can select the types of positions and locations for which you would like to be considered.  If you are interested in a specific position, please also follow the instructions found on the job posting, which may require you to send your documents directly to the hiring manager. For more information, see the page, “How to Apply.

What do you expect for a statement of purpose?
Statements of purpose for positions at J-PAL or IPA can be written as either cover letters or personal statements like the ones you may have written for university applications. They should be at least one page long, but no more than two. In the body of the text, please discuss your experience with, and knowledge of, randomized evaluations. Make sure to include information about your work history in research, policymaking, or international development. If you have worked or lived abroad, please include this, emphasizing experiences in developing countries. 

How should I complete the “Countries” section?
In the “Countries” section of the common application, select all countries where you are willing to work and where you have existing work authorization. For example, if you have dual citizenship between Japan and the United States, you have a work permit for Ghana, and you would like to work in the Philippines, you should select “Authorized to Work In?” for Japan, the United States, and Ghana, and “Interested to Work In?” for the Philippines.

What kinds of positions are usually available?
The J-PAL and its partner organizations employ more than 600 people, with most positions being research-focused.

See the job categories page for more details on position types, and application page for more information on how to apply to the common application and individual positions.

Are Project Associate and Research Associate positions entry-level positions?
While they are not appropriate for someone with a PhD, they can be appropriate for people with a master’s and some experience, particularly if the objective is to gain hands-on experience with field research. They can also be good opportunities for people who are looking for a more limited time commitment of one or two years (each job posting lists the desired commitment period).

What is the pay usually like?
Terms and conditions of employment (including pay) vary by job and with the candidate’s experience. In general, field-based PAs/RAs are paid a salary similar to a small stipend for living expenses in addition to airfare, health insurance, and visa costs. US-based positions and mid-level positions at J-PAL’s regional offices (e.g. research manager, policy manager) pay salaries competitive for the international development, nonprofit sector.

What kinds of people usually get hired?
Since J-PAL is a research network of economists, candidates who have completed and performed well in basic coursework in economics, including microeconomics, development economics, and econometrics are preferred, including for policy and operations track positions. For positions based in developing countries, prior developing country experience is highly valued, and local language skills are desirable (and in the case of Spanish and French speaking countries, fluency is required). Most employees have either a bachelor's or a master's degree.

What do these positions lead to?
Many of those who have worked with the J-PAL network in the past have gone on to graduate studies, including at MIT (PhD in economics), Harvard (PhD in economics, law school, medical school, MPA/ID at the Kennedy School), Berkeley (PhD in economics), and other top schools. This partly reflects the quality of people who are accepted to these positions, but also the fact that our staff and others we work with acquire a range of important skills and experiences on the job.

J-PAL and many of its partners are growing organizations. Many mid-level positions are open for internal promotion. These positions may be field-based (e.g. Research Manager or Country Director positions) or US-based positions in research, policy, or training.

When will I know if I'm going to be interviewed or offered a job?
J-PAL is a network of research centers and academics who run research projects around the world. Though we have a centralized application database, the hiring process is highly decentralized. J-PAL staff, researchers, and hiring managers will browse applicants by a rating of application strength, geographic location, flexibility, and language skills. They contact short-listed applicants for interviews from the end of January through the spring. Candidates may receive interviews from several researchers or organizations throughout the selection process. Only those selected for interviews are contacted, and this doesn't happen along any particular schedule, as each the hiring managers and organizations act according to their own timelines. We are unable to provide feedback on specific applications.

Are there any summer internship opportunities available? How do I apply?
Innovations for Poverty Action and the Centre for Microfinance hold drives for summer internships, which usually begin in January. They will also occasionally post specific internship positions at other times of the year. J-PAL sometimes recruits for specific internship positions, the postings of which can be found on this site. J-PAL does not have an internship drive in the same manner as the above organizations.

What do I do if I need help with my application?
Phone calls and email inquiries cannot be accepted, due to the fact that the hiring managers are located all over the world at different offices, and also due to the large volume of applications received. If you are having technical difficulties with the common application, please email

What if I've applied for a job in the past?
If you previously submitted an application using the J-PAL/IPA common application system and now are interested in applying for a position that is receiving applications through the common application, we ask that you please revise your old application rather than creating a new username and password. Please remember to update your earliest available start date and resubmit.

What if I'm currently employed by a J-PAL or IPA affiliate and want to apply for one of these openings?
People with previous experience on randomized evaluations can be great candidates for other positions within the network that require more responsibility. If you are currently employed by someone in the J-PAL network and are hoping to switch to a new position, project, or location, please talk with your supervisor(s) and principal investigator(s) about your goals and your plans in addition to applying.

I am applying for a position with J-PAL South Asia, and I used to be eligible for a PIO card. I am unable to select this work authorization in your common application. How come?
The PIO Card scheme has been withdrawn by the Government of India. All PIO applications, pending with the Mission for processing, are being returned to the applicants with a request to apply for an OCI card on the same fee prescribed for the PIO card. Henceforth, applicants may apply for an OCI card ONLY, as the PIO card scheme is no longer in existence. If you had originally selected 'I am eligible for a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card' when completing your application, please be sure to update your work permissions, as this is no longer accurate.