Research Associate - Identifying Interventions to Improve Maintenance of Local Water Infrastructure: The Role of Local Institutions and Incentives - J-PAL South Asia

J-PAL South Asia
  • India
Start Date (Earliest):

Project Title: Identifying Interventions to Improve Maintenance of Local Water Infrastructure: The Role of Local Institutions and Incentives

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka

Start Date: 01st August 2024

Length of Commitment: 12 months

Language Requirement: Kannada

Education: Bachelors/Master’s in Economics, Environmental Economics, Public Policy or related fields

Company Description:

J-PAL is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. The Research team at J-PAL South Asia at the Institute of Financial Management and Research (IFMR) forges relationships with implementers on the ground, designs randomized evaluations and survey instruments, carries out data collection, statistical analysis, and data publishing, and provides evidence to answer key questions on social policy and social development.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) seeks qualified applicants for the position of Research Associate for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change sector. J-PAL’s Environment, Energy, & Climate Change sector measures the real-world impacts of energy and environmental policies, particularly on energy access, pollution reduction, and climate change mitigation and resilience.

Project Description:

J-PAL’s Environment, Energy, and Climate Change (E2C2) sector measure the real-world impacts of energy and environmental policies, particularly on climate change mitigation, pollution reduction, climate change adaptation, and energy access. To give a significant push to the workaround air and water in the sector, J-PAL will be significantly expanding its works on related challenges and setting up embedded impact labs with key government partners through its new global initiative - the Air and Water Labs (AWL). J-PAL’s AWL initiative in India is called Solutions and Advancements through Research in Water and Air (SARWA) under which the established labs will help improve clean air and water access by informing policy decisions of key government partners that together serve millions of people. The labs will work with high-level government partners to identify pressing issues and priority areas, share evidence from existing solutions, test innovative research pilots, and scale proven evidence-based solutions.

J-PAL South Asia under its SARWA initiative is partnering with the Government of Karnataka and the National Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in India to study and understand the challenges in the implementation of the JJM scheme and explore measures to improve the operation and maintenance of the existing JJM water infrastructure in the state of Karnataka. The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand research and scoping experience, including immersive field operations and interaction with Centre and State Government officials, in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research.

This research team is headed by Prof. Namrata Kala (MIT Sloan School of Management) and Prof. Anna Tompsett (Stockholm University).

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • The RA will work closely with academic researchers and other field staff to perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to:
  • Designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercises, refining study design and survey instruments
  • Managing teams: Recruit, train, and supervise both field-based and data operations teams consisting of project assistants, field managers, field-based surveyors, data entry operators, and other field and office staff
  • Supervising data collection and data entry to ensure good data quality during both these phases
  • Overseeing the roll-out and implementation of the evaluation in accordance with the research design in association with our Government partner.
  • Ensuring that the project complies with IRB and JPAL data collection and security protocols with the help of the Research Manager
  • Maintaining relationships with partner organizations at both headquarters and field levels
  • Assisting with data cleaning and preliminary data analysis
  • Assisting in the preparation of documents and presentations for donor reporting as well as dissemination activities
  • Reporting to Principal Investigators on all of the above-mentioned activities

Desired Qualifications and Experience:


  • A Bachelor’s degree in Economics, public policy, or related fields
  • At least 1 year of work experience
  • Prior experience with field data collection is desired, but not necessary
  • Familiarity with impact evaluations and randomized controlled trials is required
  • Excellent management and organizational skills along with strong quantitative skills
  • Fluency in Hindi and English and strong communication skills are required
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player
  • Willingness to live in Bangalore, travel extensively, and undertake scoping activity in rural Karnataka regions
  • Intermediate or advanced knowledge of STATA or other data analysis too


  • Master’s degree in economics, environmental economics, public policy, or related disciplines is preferred
  • Fluency and excellent communication skills in Kannada
  • Work experience in environmental sciences/ water quality and service infrastructure/JJM project implementation will be an advantage
  • Proficiency in STATA (or other tools such as R, SPSS, etc.) is desired
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations
  • Ability to work independently in rural field locations
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials/clinical trials/quasi-experiments preferred
  • Experience living in a developing country and/or liaising with government officials is strongly desired but not necessary
  • High level of attention to detail

Note on Work Authorizations: 

Candidates must have work authorization to work in India. This covers citizens of India, Nepal, or Bhutan, Persons of Indian origin (PIO), and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).

How to Apply

If you are interested in this position, please click on the apply button on the JD here; the first-time users will be asked to sign up and upload the CV, cover letter, and academic transcripts (optional).

For any queries, please write to [email protected].