Research Associate (Governance Portfolio) - Inclusion Economics India Centre at IFMR

  • India
Start Date (Earliest):

Location: Patna (Bihar), India

Start Dates: As soon as possible

Length of Commitment: 1-2 Years

Principal Investigators:

Rohini Pande, Yale University and Inclusion Economics

Charity Troyer Moore, Yale University and Inclusion Economics

Yusuf Neggers, University of Michigan

Who We Are:                                   

Inclusion Economics India Centre at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) is a policy-engaged research initiative that strives to inform and encourage evidence-based dialogue on economic and social inclusion. Our work in India includes research engagements across multiple states and focuses on some of India’s most challenging problems, ranging from pollution and climate change to women’s economic engagement and engagement with technology to supporting effective governance and building state capacity.

As a policy-engaged research initiative focused on issues of inclusion, we believe that every life is shaped by institutions, from the family to the economy to the state. Through our work, we ask which policies build institutions that enable economies and societies where everyone can access economic opportunities. Drawing upon economics, political science, and related fields, we conduct cutting-edge research to understand how policy can promote inclusive, accountable economies and societies. We also aim to build a culture of evidence and increase data literacy in the public sector, strengthening leaders’ ability to identify and implement evidence-informed policies. Throughout the research life cycle, we engage closely with policy counterparts to ensure we address questions of immediate relevance, and we regularly communicate data-driven insights with policy counterparts and the general public.

About the Project:

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is the central social protection scheme for the rural poor across India, providing work to tens of millions of poor households across the country each year. While payment infrastructure has greatly benefited from investments in digital financial systems, the payment process is relatively complicated to track in real time, and busy officers must juggle many priorities alongside payment processing. When wages are delayed, vulnerable workers may struggle to address a rejected payment or opt not to participate in MGNREGA in the future. Providing the right information about payments to busy officers at the right time and in a useful format can help reduce their workloads and improve MGNREGA delivery.Since 2013, researchers from Inclusion Economics have worked with the Ministry of Rural Development to support MGNREGA implementation through evidence-backed research. As part of this collaboration, the research team developed and tested an innovative mobile and web application called PayDash to help government officials acquire information relevant to monitoring and managing MGNREGA payments. The initial application was piloted across three Indian states, and the current project is working with state and Centre stakeholders to test and transition a full-scale version of the application. The selected candidate will also have the opportunity to join a team of leading economists and public policy experts at Yale and other reputed universities to work on cutting-edge development research and gain first-hand experience working with policy partners and conducting rigorous data analysis.


  • Research Associates work closely with Research Managers & Principal Investigators who guide and supervise them in their various tasks and work closely with field staff to perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to:
  • Leading the day-to-day implementation of primary research and policy scale-up activities, including scoping, project implementation, data analysis, and stakeholder management.
  • Identify and manage threats to the research and scale-up design with support from Research Managers and Principal Investigators.
  • Working with Implementing partners and government officials to ensure that scale-up plans are in line with the research and policy objectives. Reporting directly to government partners on the key performance metrics of the application and seeking buy-in to integrate the application into existing government department processes. 
  • Support product development, maintenance, and quality assurance for a web and mobile application populated by publicly available government data in partnership with technical consultants.
  • Support in the design of research plans to test the impact of application features and processes on various key performance metrics. 
  • Collect and analyze administrative data from policy partners and government agencies. Assist in the design and testing of user feedback surveys. 
  • Conduct data cleaning, manipulation, analysis, and visualization using primary and secondary data sources.
  • Review and report on academic literature of requested topics in support of policy briefs and research projects.
  • Contribute to analysis and writing of policy briefs for various government partners and case studies on Inclusion Economics India project components.
  • Supporting research professors in ensuring any data collection activities are in compliance with ethical and data security protocols. All field and data activities are in compliance with IRB and field safety protocols.
  • Others, as required.

Basic Qualifications: 

  • A Bachelor's/Master's degree in economics, social sciences, political science, public policy, or related fields
  • Fluency and excellent communication skills (verbal and written) in English and Hindi
  • Proven analytical skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and Stata
  • Experience managing large datasets or working with remotely hosted databases
  • Excellent management and organizational skills, along with strong quantitative skills
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and is a team player
  • Ability to work independently and with remote teams

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Master's degree or above in economics or related field 
  • Candidate should have strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to engage with policy partners of various levels 
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials 
  • Experience developing mobile or web applications
  • Proficiency in Python and MySQL
  • Experience working with Firebase, Google Analytics, GitHub, and AWS

How to Apply

How to Apply: 

If you are interested in this position, please fill out our Screening Questionnaire; you will be asked to upload a single PDF containing your CV, cover letter, and academic transcripts. Label your file “Last name, First name – Research Associate_Governance”. To view other open positions, visit the Inclusion Economics Opportunities page. We encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds, particularly women, people of color, and other marginalized communities that have historically been underrepresented in the field of economics.