Predoctoral Field- and Desk-Based Research Associate (Two-Year) – Democratic Republic of Congo and UC Berkeley

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
Start Date (Earliest):


We are looking for qualified applications for the position of Predoctoral Research Associate to work on research projects in development economics and political economy in Kananga, Democratic Republic of Congo. This is an opportunity to gain field research experience in development economics and political economy, managing large-scale randomized controlled trials. You will also acquire management and analytical skills in this role. The position will require significant commitment, key responsibilities and long hours in a poor, remote setting.


This 24-month position will be based in Kananga, DRC, and will be divided in two 12-month periods with distinct responsibilities. The first period will be focused on managing the field research projects while the second will be devoted to desk research-based activities, as described below. The position is targeted for individuals who anticipate applying for PhDs in economics or other quantitative social sciences. Arrangements will be made so the Predoctoral Research Associate has sufficient time for these applications in the second year.


Project description:

The Predoctoral Research Associate will work on several ongoing research projects, including but not limited to the following topics:


(i) The interaction between legal and fiscal capacity in weak state settings. An RCT, in collaboration with the provincial Ministry of Justice and a Congolese NGO, seeks to examine how increasing access to justice moderated by formal and informal actors shapes crime, property rights security, and the tax-based social contract between citizens and the State.

(ii) The effects of progressive taxation on compliance, revenues, and the social contract. An RCT, in collaboration with the provincial Government and the provincial tax revenue department, will examine how a more progressive property tax system shapes revenue through two key mechanisms: (a) a tighter correspondence between liability and ability to pay, and (b) higher compliance due to improved perceptions of the fairness of the tax system.


Responsibilities of the Predoctoral Research Associate:

  •  Managing the daily work of a team of French-speaking field enumerators (leading training sessions, enumerators follow-up, survey reports, field and survey equipment preparation, etc.)
  • Management of the field research organization ODEKA
  • Preparing and managing survey instruments with Excel and SurveyCTO
  • Extraction (SurveyCTO) and Cleaning (STATA) survey data collected daily
  • Regular monitoring of project databases to maintain and improve accuracy and consistency of data collection
  • Cooperating with local implementation partners in the government and civil society.
  • Handling communications with local stakeholders and Principal Investigators
  • Preparing frequent progress reports and briefings to keep Principal Investigators informed of developments in the field
  • Performing financial management and accounting tasks including expense tracking, archiving, forecasting, and financial reporting.
  • Assisting Principal Investigators in data analysis and paper reproducibility
  • Conducting literature reviews


-       Master’s degree in economics or a related field (required)

-       Quantitative skills and experience with Stata (required)

-       Familiarity with randomized evaluations and econometric methods (required)

-       Fluency in French: native speaker or advanced fluency (required)

-       Excellent organizational, management and communication skills (required)

-       Experience living in a developing country (required)

-       Experience with Survey CTO (desired)

-       Experience with ArcGIS/QGIS (desired)

-       Detail-oriented, able to work independently and take initiative (desired)


Duration: Summer 2024 – Summer 2026.


Primary supervisor: Jonathan Weigel (Assistant Professor, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley), James Robinson (University of Chicago)


Secondary supervisors: Augustin Bergeron (University of Southern California), Marina Mavungu Ngoma (The World Bank Group), Joana Naritomi (London School of Economics), Gabriel Tourek (University of Pittsburgh), Samuel Kapon (University of California Berkeley), Binta Zahra Diop (Stanford University), Eva Davoine (University of California Berkeley), Gabriel Granato (University of California Berkeley), and other collaborators.

How to Apply

Send a CV and cover letter in English to Robin Benabid Jegaden ([email protected]) using the subject “Predoctoral Field- and Desk-Based Research Associate, UC Berkeley”.