Policy Manager - J-PAL North America

United States of America (the)
Other advanced degree
Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
Start Date 


J-PAL North America, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, seeks a Policy Manager to contribute to its mission of promoting evidence-informed policy. We seek applicants from diverse backgrounds and especially welcome applicants with backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in the field of economics.

The Policy Manager will lead J-PAL North America’s ongoing partnerships with philanthropic foundations, policymakers, and implementing partners. As a Policy Manager, your primary responsibilities will involve people management, stakeholder engagement, sector expertise, research proposal management, and policy outreach and communications. This is an opportunity to lead the development and implementation of significant portions of the organization’s policy strategy and advance J-PAL North America’s partnerships with key stakeholders to ensure that evidence contributes to public discourse around some of the most pressing questions in social policy. Candidates should have an understanding of impact evaluations, training in economics and statistics, a strong knowledge of social policy issues and the opportunities and constraints faced by policymakers, and demonstrated management experience.


People and team management (25%): Manage day-to-day work portfolio and overall professional development of Senior Policy Associates and Policy Associates. Assist in recruitment of new members of J-PAL North America’s policy team. Contribute to the design and creation of new systems and modifications to existing systems to maximize functionality and effectiveness across the policy team.

Stakeholder engagement (20%): Maintain strong relationships with J-PAL North America’s key partners in government, non-profits, foundations, and the private sector. Initiate and build partnerships with groups across the region to identify new opportunities for rigorous evaluation of social policies. Provide technical and project management support to policymakers and practitioners as they develop evaluations.

Sector expertise (20%): Develop expertise in one or more of J-PAL’s sectors, and lead J-PAL North America’s policy outreach in this sector. Work with J-PAL’s academic leadership to identify policy lessons from J-PAL affiliates’ research. Provide feasibility assessments and initial analyses of policies and programs that might be well-suited for rigorous evaluations. Conduct research and analysis for policy memos, grant proposals, and publications. Lead sector-specific fundraising and research development efforts.

Research proposal management (20%): Lead Requests for Proposals that provide funding and technical assistance to support randomized evaluations, including promoting funding opportunities among academic researchers and implementing partners, managing the application and review processes, and drafting reports to philanthropic funders and policymakers on the progress of evaluations and lessons learned from program implementation.

Policy communication and outreach (15%): Create briefs, literatures reviews, other publications, and presentations to communicate proposed, ongoing, and completed research by J-PAL affiliated professors. Organize convenings designed to spur new research collaborations and share policy lessons from completed research and represent J-PAL North America at external events and in meetings with senior decision-makers.

Professional Development

J-PAL North America invests in your professional development. As a Policy Manager you will learn, engage, travel, and grow.

Learn: J-PAL supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly seminars, engage in small-group discussions with other J-PAL staff, and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program.

Engage: Policy Managers have the opportunity to work with J-PAL affiliates and directors, as well as interact with policymakers and practitioners. As senior members of J-PAL North America’s policy team, Policy Managers will help in recruiting, supervising, and mentoring junior staff; organizing policy events; and teaching J-PAL’s capacity-building courses.

Travel: Policy Managers may have the opportunity to travel to provide in-person support to select partner organizations and to attend policy events and conferences.

Grow: J-PAL actively focuses on the professional development of its employees and constantly looks to improve the skills and knowledge of staff at all levels.


As a member of the MIT community, you benefit from more than just your salary.

J-PAL hires highly qualified staff and rewards them, accordingly. Total compensation packages are competitive for the non-profit and government fields with excellent MIT benefits, including comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match and pension-based retirement plan, tuition assistance, commuter benefits, MIT community discounts, a generous vacation policy, and more.


Education: You hold a master’s degree in economics, public policy, public administration, business administration, or a related field. You have training in statistics and quantitative methods.

Experience: You have six or more years of accumulated experience, including at least four years of full-time, post-undergraduate experience and prior experience managing staff. Your experience should reflect your ability to develop relationships with senior policymakers and practitioners and give you a nuanced understanding of the constraints they face in implementing evidence-based policy. Prior demonstrated experience working with communities experiencing poverty in North America is a plus.

Communication: You are detail-oriented and have advanced writing skills. You understand how to communicate policy lessons from technical academic research in ways that policymakers and practitioners understand. You are a precise, clear, and confident public speaker. You have the ability to effectively communicate with a diverse group of J-PAL staff as well as policy and research partners.

Organization: You are a strategic thinker. You can handle multiple projects at once, push forward multiple external stakeholders, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time, as well as others’.

Interest: You are passionate about policy that has the potential to reduce poverty and the rigorous research that informs it. You are keenly interested in poverty alleviation in the North American (primarily the United States and Canada) context in particular. You have a commitment to J-PAL North America’s organizational values, take initiative, and can manage and work collaboratively with colleagues.

How to Apply

Ready to join a team of collaborative, inclusive, and inquisitive colleagues? Apply now.

This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship.

Submit an application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit http://jobs.mit.edu/external, search for job ID 17288 (Policy Manager - J-PAL North America) and complete an application.

In a single PDF uploaded to the resume field, please include:

1.      Cover letter addressing:

a.      What experiences you have had that demonstrate that you are able to work with communities experiencing poverty

b.      Your interest in poverty alleviation in the North America region, especially in the US and Canada

c.      Your qualifications, and how they have prepared you to be effective in the Policy Manager role

2.      Resume

3.      Transcripts (unofficial is fine)

We will begin reviewing applications in April 2019. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing exercise and phone interview. Finalists will be called for an in-person interview.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.