Research Associate, Targeted and flexible micro credit (TFM) - J-PAL South Asia

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

Location: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 

Education: Bachelor's, Master's 

Start Date: 21st May 2024 

Length of Commitment: One year

Project Overview

JPAL SA is looking for a Research Associate to work closely with PIs – Prof. Natalia Rigol and Ben Roth (both of Harvard Business School) – and other team members to lead the field work of a project to develop flexible, targeted microcredit products. Unlike traditional microcredit, these loans will have personalized repayment plans that match the timing of the borrower's cash flows to the timing of their payment obligations. Additionally, these loans will utilize novel community targeting methods to screen loan applicants, whereby community members are asked to identify reliable and promising entrepreneurs. Prof. Rigol and Roth specialize in finding and studying innovative microcredit products and services that can better help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods. You can find their work here and here.

The study is in the baseline stage and involves screening and assessing microentrepreneurs for micro-loan products.

The RA will work very closely with PIs in managing the data and supporting the project in field activities. This position looks for someone who is creative, flexible, independent, and excited to solve new challenges.

Key Responsibilities

This is a very high ownership role, where your work will majorly involve supporting other RAs in project management in addition to cleaning and analyzing the data collected from the field on a regular basis. The RA will principally work on writing code to optimize the design of large-scale randomized controlled trials and to analyze and interpret their results while also handling field-team operations. This is a unique position, offering the opportunity to work on tough analytical problems around large-scale randomized evaluations and hone your data analysis skills.

Research Associates work closely with academic researchers and other field staff to perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to:

  • Research Design and Data Management
    • Designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot/backchecking exercises, refining study design and survey instruments
    • Ensuring that the project complies with research protocols related to data collection and security
    • Supervising data collection and data entry to ensure good data quality
    • Work with data sets, prepare and run codes regularly for daily data cleaning and analysis in STATA
    • Launching monthly dashboards displaying indicators from multiple data sources for the study participants of the RCT
    • Assisting PIs in sampling, randomization and power calculation exercises, when needed
    • Take ownership of daily data management trackers to ensure seamless flow of information for operational efficiency
    • Ability to analyze and interpret data using statistical packages like STATA and produce output, including graphs and tables
  • Managerial / Operational
    • Maintaining relationship with partner organizations at both headquarters and field levels
    • 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
    • Overseeing the on-ground implementation of the evaluation in accordance with the research design in association with our partner organization. Further, making sure the project is on track in terms of timelines
    • Liaising with field staff running evaluations and collaborating with them including occasional travel to research field sites; focus of work is to advise on quality control of data collection practices
  • Communication
    • Assisting in preparation of documents and presentations with graphs and tables for partner organization, donor reporting as well as dissemination activities
    • Daily meetings with PIs to share project progress updates
  • Any other task as assigned by the PIs

Required Qualifications

  • A Bachelor's/Master’s degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, education or related fields
  • Proficiency in STATA and other statistical packages (non-negotiable)
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills in English
  • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations
  • Have an entrepreneurial/start-up mindset: Ability to deal with unstructured and changing environments. Are action oriented, self-driven and flexible
  • Attentive to detail, analytical, and can work across multiple-task efficiently as required
  • Team oriented: Are a reliable team player and can work with a diverse set of people on a daily basis
  • Ability to work independently and in rural field locations (travel to nearby field sites as required)
  • Willing to move to Erode, Tamil Nadu

Desired Qualifications 

  • Working proficiency in Tamil (strongly preferred)
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials/clinical trials/quasi-experiments and development research preferred
  • Experience working with rural enterprises

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].