Research, Education, and Training Associate - J-PAL Global

J-PAL Office 
United States
Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
Two years
Start Date 

We are hiring a Research, Training, and Education (RET) Associate for our Research team within J-PAL Global’s Research, Education, and Training (RET) group. Our team of 14, including five economics and political science PhDs, cares deeply about research and research transparency, data quality, developing new methods in RCT research, and staying at the frontier of social science research. We are always looking for ways to improve current research practices and creating tools and materials that help others who conduct RCT research.

You are a good candidate for this role if you are interested in RCTs and the data collected for them, and would like to learn about working with such data, including building up your coding skills in Stata, R, and other programs; perhaps you are thinking about going on to your PhD in Economics or Political Science. Candidates who are interested in the General Data Research Associate position but would like to begin work sooner are strongly encouraged to apply.

In this role, you will be exposed to the latest research in economics and work directly with affiliated researchers, as they register new randomized trials in the AEA Social Science Registry, publish their latest research data, or replicate their data analysis prior to publishing an academic paper. You will also work with members of our team, including a postdoc in applied econometrics, on a new project thinking systematically about RCT data and its properties. We are learning how RCT data is used in new research projects, for example to train machine learning algorithms, to extrapolate measured effects to broader populations, or to evaluate bias in non-experimental methods, and how we can support such research. This work may include finding RCT data that has been or can be used for new methods research; surveying users about what types of projects they do with RCT data; thinking about the properties of data, how it is used, and reading associated research papers; and creating better ways of searching and documenting RCT data. Through these activities, you will be exposed to many different data sets from RCTs, including those recently collected in the field; get a sense of what data is collected and how; and gain a comprehensive overview of the newest methodological and RCT research in applied economics.

You will also work with us to build out research resources for staff, develop data analysis tools, review reference and teaching materials for research staff, and help organize courses for research staff and policymakers. We work closely with staff from our regional offices in North America, Chile, France, India, Indonesia, and South Africa as well as staff from J-PAL’s partner organizations, like Innovations for Poverty Action and the Center for Effective Global Action.

In this position, you will have the opportunity to work with some of the top researchers at MIT and around the world. You can attend MIT/Harvard economics seminars, take classes at MIT, and participate in many professional development opportunities, such as taking (or teaching in) some of our courses on randomized evaluations, or participate in our research staff trainings for field RAs in Goa and New Hampshire. 

Responsibilities may include:

  • Develop new tools for J-PAL research projects (such as the development of code, packages, programs, etc.) that increase the efficiency of research staff;Think systematically about RCT data, its properties, and how it is used, such as by surveying users and reading associated research papers; 
  • Document and prepare research datasets for publication, including gathering “metadata” used in methods research, and building tools that streamline and facilitate these tasks for our research partners;
  • Conduct data analysis and answer questions on Research Transparency with our own data;Review new randomized trials submitted to the registry and analyze registry entries;
  • Research and design new teaching modules and prepare presentations, case studies, and manuals to train researchers, research staff, and policymakers on randomized evaluation methods and the responsible use of data in research;
  • Support J-PAL’s online course portfolio, including MIT’s new MicroMasters program by assisting students with data analysis assignments; 
  • Other assignments as needed as the position grows.

Skills and qualifications 

  • Education: A Bachelor’s degree in economics, political science, education, public policy, international development, or other related fields required. Master’s degree preferred. Significant training in and a strong technical understanding of randomized evaluations is required.
  • Experience: At least 2 years of work experience is required (which may include experience gained as an undergraduate), including in quantitative data analysis and economics or a related discipline. The ideal candidate will have experience with data cleaning and analysis of large and complex data sets. Experience in conducting field research in developing countries with a background in randomized evaluations is a plus.
  • Interest in Development and Policy: Interest in poverty alleviation policy and research, as demonstrated by coursework and/or study or work abroad.
  • Quantitative skills: Knowledge of data management, data analysis, and econometrics is required.
  • Software: Must have a good command of Stata, or have knowledge of R or other analytics programs plus the ability and willingness to quickly learn Stata. Office applications (Powerpoint, Excel) are required. LaTeX knowledge or exposure to Matlab, Python, or Julia are a plus. 

Professional Development:

J-PAL invests in your professional development. As a RET Associate, you will learn, engage, travel, and grow.

  • Learn: As a member of the Research, Education, and Training Group, it will be central to your role to keep abreast of the latest impact evaluation methods and developments and trends in the policy and training spaces, and to seek out opportunities to deepen your knowledge in these areas. J-PAL supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly MIT–Harvard Development Seminars and to take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program. All J-PAL staff are also eligible to take the innovative online MITx MicroMasters credential in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP) free of charge.
  • Engage: Associates have the opportunity to interact with policymakers, practitioners, and university members alongside senior Group members.
  • Grow: Associates can expect to join a peer group eager to build institutional knowledge and pass on lessons learned. Associates receive one-on-one mentorship from senior group members and are eligible for internal promotion based on performance, ability, and educational qualifications.


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 international development field 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. We like working at MIT and think you will too.

How to Apply

Please note: Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the United States. This position is not eligible for visa sponsorship.

Complete the MIT Application. Search for Job ID: 18023

We will begin reviewing applications on October 18, 2019. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing and technical exercise. Finalists will be called for an in-person interview. Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an 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.