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Positions are available in field research, project management, and data analysis, as well as policy outreach and administration. About 70 percent of positions are based in the field, while US-based positions are also available at J-PAL Global in Cambridge, MA; Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) headquarters in New Haven, CT; or at our affiliates’ home universities.
Field Research Associate
Project Associates, Research Assistants, and Research Associates in the field assist in designing and implementing randomized evaluations. They work closely with academic researchers and other field staff to perform a variety of tasks including: designing survey questionnaires, managing survey teams, negotiating contracts with survey firms, checking and analyzing data, and coordinating with local partners running the programs being evaluated.
Required Experience: PAs and RAs typically have a bachelor’s degree in economics, social sciences, or other related fields, but more people with master’s degrees in public policy, international affairs, and international development are being selected for these positions. Excellent organizational, communication, and writing skills are required along with strong quantitative skills. Knowledge of Stata or other data analysis software is preferred. These positions are ideal for those seeking hands-on research and/or development experience, and for those planning to go on to graduate studies.
Preferred Experience: Candidates should be independent and self-motivating. Experience in developing countries is a strong plus, especially if it included managing survey teams. Graduate-level coursework in economics is a strong plus. Undergraduate training in microeconomics, development economics, econometrics and statistics is preferred. Local language skills are desirable.
University-based Research Associate
Headquarters or university-based research assistants’ primary responsibility is working with data sets, cleaning and running checks to spot errors, and generally preparing data for analysis. Other responsibilities may include writing survey questions, liaising with the field staff running the evaluation, writing grant proposals, and any other number of tasks. These positions are ideal for those who are seeking research experience before going on to graduate studies. There will likely be openings in Cambridge, MA, New Haven, CT, and possibly elsewhere.
Required Experience: Prior experience working with large data sets and programming in Stata, SAS, or other statistical analysis languages are necessary. Very strong quantitative, organizational, and communication skills are required. Candidates should hold at least a bachelor's degree in economics, including training in microeconomics, development economics, econometrics, statistics, and advanced math. Graduate-level coursework in economics is a strong plus.
Preferred Experience: Experience as a research assistant using Stata, analyzing large datasets. Excellent grades in economics and statistics.
Mid- and Senior Level Research
Various positions throughout the J-PAL network, including Project Coordinator, Research Manager, and Country Director, are more senior positions than the PA/RA positions and offer increased responsibility for both research and management tasks. Some are suitable as promotion opportunities for current PAs/RAs who have at least two years of experience. Others are considerably more senior. These positions often involve taking a lead role in coordinating multiple evaluations, taking the lead in the management of relations with a number of different partners and managing staff. Responsibilities may include designing survey questionnaires, managing survey teams, negotiating contracts with survey firms, checking and analyzing data, and coordinating with local partners running the programs being evaluated. These positions may be based in the field or at the J-PAL, IPA, CEGA, or CMF headquarters offices. Some require considerable travel. Nearly all require a minimum commitment of two years.
Required Experience: Candidates should have a master’s degree, including training in microeconomics, development economics, econometrics and statistics. Several years of relevant work experience is also necessary. Excellent quantitative, organizational, and oral and written communication skills, including a very high level of English proficiency and strong communications skills, are required.
Preferred Experience: The strongest candidates possess a master's or PhD level degree in development economics, international affairs, international public policy, or a related field. They also have experience in conducting field research in developing countries, or experience in economics or social science research, with a background in randomized evaluations. Quantitative skills with data management, econometrics, and knowledge of Stata are very useful. Managerial experience and the ability to present positions to and negotiate with senior officials are also very valuable.
Policy positions are located in J-PAL’s Global office in Cambridge and IPA’s offices in New Haven and Washington, DC, as well as at all of J-PAL’s regional offices. Responsibilities may include writing publications that “translate” the work of J-PAL’s researchers into policy lessons, reviewing academic literature on randomized evaluations to draw out policy lessons, conducting literature reviews, and undertaking cost-effectiveness reviews of J-PAL’s and other randomized evaluations. Policy staff also meet and build relationships with key partners in governments, NGOs, foundations, and multilateral aid agencies; give presentations on J-PAL and J-PAL’s research findings; encourage key contacts to attend J-PAL’s courses; and encourage key contacts to run randomized evaluations.
Required Experience: Candidates should consult the requirements for specific postings, but most candidates should have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in economics or public policy, with coursework in microeconomics, econometrics, and development economics. Relevant work experience in domestic policymaking or international development is also required. Excellent writing and communication skills, demonstrated organizational skills, and ability to meet deadlines are very important.
Preferred Experience: Experience in developing countries is very useful to this position.