Research Fellow - Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at the Harvard Kennedy School

  • United States of America
Start Date (Earliest):

About EPoD

Housed within the Center for International Development (CID), Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) is a dynamic research initiative that brings analytical insights, typically from economics, to the design and implementation of public policies and programs around the world. EPoD directly engages with governments and local organizations to identify key questions, design innovative new policies or interventions, and test these using the tools of applied microeconomics, including large field-based experiments. Current research topics at EPoD include governance, social protection, education, entrepreneurship, health, skills, state capacity, sustainable development, and access to finance. Research projects are ongoing in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, China and Mexico. 

About the Fellowship

EPoD research fellows work closely with faculty on specific research projects. Current projects include collaborating with government officials to analyze administrative tax data and strengthen the link between property taxes and urban public services, evaluating the effect of informational and behavioral interventions via an e-training platform in guiding jobseekers’ skill acquisition on their labor outcomes, and measuring the impact of edtech interventions in primary public schools in Pakistan. Other projects include randomized evaluations of Indonesian social programs including graduation from poverty, jobs training, food assistance, electricity subsidies, community-targeted cash transfers, and social insurance, as well as a study on the optimization of Jakarta’s public transit system, a suite of experimental and quasi-experimental studies in tax administration and tax assessments in Indonesia and India, and analyses of massive deidentified administrative and financial transaction data from Thailand to better understand unemployment, insurance, and industrial policy. 

Fellows come from diverse backgrounds and bring highly valued technical skillsets and cultural perspectives to our research teams. Fellows receive mentoring from faculty, work with cutting-edge topics and research methods, and participate in a broad range of activities at the Harvard Kennedy School. They are welcomed as members of the Harvard community and receive salary, benefits, and access to an array of University resources. Fellows are among the best and the brightest of future researchers and practitioners in Economics, Public Policy, and related fields, and many go on to graduate study or pursue careers outside of academia, supporting and implementing evidence-based policy from a wide variety of organizations. 

This specific fellowship will be under the direction of Professor Asim Khwaja or Professor Rema Hanna. The research fellow for Prof. Khwaja will focus on a set of research projects related to education, public finance and taxation, labor economics and skill development, and other themes, with a focus on Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and potentially Colombia. The research fellow for Prof. Hanna will focus on projects related to social protections, public services, and tax administration, largely in Indonesia, India, Thailand, and Morocco. We are seeking a full-time research fellow for 1 year, with the strong possibility of second-year renewal, starting in summer 2024. This position will be based in Cambridge, MA with remote work possible for some period in accordance with University policies around COVID-19.

For more information on EPoD, visit our website.


  • Clean and manage large datasets and conduct statistical analyses of data using Stata
  • Contribute to management of projects, including project research development, oversight of field activities, managing project finances and other resources, drafting and coordinating submission of project deliverables, liaising with project partners and supporting grant submission processes
  • Prepare literature reviews, background research, and other draft content for academic papers
  • Work closely with faculty researchers to develop other research and policy outputs (e.g. edit, develop and proofread presentations, project reports, policy briefs, and research protocols), in addition to grant proposals and supporting documents for research projects
  • Assist with the IRB application and approval process, and support project data management
  • Assist with new and existing grants including through drafting materials for new grant applications and deliverables for existing grants
  • Maintain stakeholder relationships with key partners and field teams on the ground
  • Write website content and other communications contributions, development and management
  • Others, as required



  • Master’s degree in economics, Public Policy, International Development, or related field requiring substantial quantitative coursework
  • Strong interest in public policy and economic development in low-income countries
  • Coursework in empirical methods, including econometrics and economics, and knowledge of randomized control trials
  • Excellent English oral and written communication skills
  • Experience in grant proposal development and field research.
  • Programming proficiency in Stata
  • Computer literacy (including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint)
  • Willingness to travel internationally


  • 2-3 years of related research and/or field experience
  • Spanish language proficiency
  • Strong ability to integrate research and policy into coherent and effective written materials
  • Well organized, able to prioritize, have a strong attention to detail and manage multiple assignments simultaneously
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to interact well with faculty, staff, students, and research partners in developing countries
  • Previous experience as a research assistant in the fields of Public Policy or Economic Development.
  • Previous experience in research project management

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select "EPoD Research Fellow” and include the following materials. Note that applications with incomplete submissions will not be considered. Please include the following application materials:

Cover letter (one page max)


Academic transcripts from all degrees received and in progress (unofficial copies are acceptable)

Coding sample(s) demonstrating data analysis skills in Stata (preferred), R, or Python (please no more than one sample per language)

Two letters of recommendation from academic (preferred) or professional references (can be submitted later in the review process)

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and will not be considered complete until all elements (excluding letters of recommendation) are received. Applicants chosen to move forward in the hiring process will be required to take a Stata exam, participate in multiple interviews, and provide additional materials as requested. Please contact [email protected] with any questions. 

Please note that we may also consider candidates for positions with other EPoD faculty or for positions at institutions where EPoD faculty have co-Principal Investigators. Please ‘opt-in to open recruitment’ when completing your J-PAL/IPA common application.