Research Manager - J-PAL North America

J-PAL Office 
United States
Language Requirement 
Start Date 

Application timeline 

Start date: Summer 2019 

We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing exercise. Finalists will be called for an in-person interview.

Candidates should be eligible to work in the United States for two or more years. This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship.

Job description

J-PAL North America is looking for an exceptional candidate to join our team as a Research Manager. This is a mid-level position for candidates with 4 or more years of professional experience, and is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. 

J-PAL's mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence. The successful candidate will directly contribute to this mission, supporting researchers to produce rigorous evidence about which policies work to reduce poverty in North America, and why. They will also work with other members of J-PAL North America’s research team to build a culture of evidence, producing online resources and training materials to help others conduct randomized evaluations. Candidates should have an understanding of impact evaluation, training in economics and statistics, knowledge about social policy, and excellent organizational skills.


This role provides the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. The Research Manager’s time will be split between:

  • Project management for randomized evaluations led by co-Scientific Director Amy Finkelstein (50%).

Examples of the types of projects the Research Manager would support include the effect of expanding public health insurance and the impacts of case management for patients with complex needs. The Research Manager coordinates efforts on these projects and ensures evaluation designs are implemented faithfully, flagging and finding solutions for potential threats. They will be responsible for coordinating administrative data requests, ethics committee protocols and other compliance documents. The candidate will work closely with Amy Finkelstein, co-investigators and implementing partners. They will also directly supervise, manage and mentor research associates who conduct data analysis.

  • Providing Short-Term Research Management to help set up new randomized evaluations (25%).

The candidate would contribute to Short-Term Research Management (STReaM), providing assistance to researchers across the J-PAL network for 3-6 months at a time, usually in the beginning stages of new randomized evaluations. Projects will cover a range of topics and will be selected through J-PAL North America’s funding initiatives such as the State and Local Innovation Initiative, the Education Technology and Opportunity Initiative, or the Health Care Delivery Initiative.

  • Contributing to the creation and dissemination of research resources, to help other research teams run successful randomized evaluations (25%).

The Research Manager will draw lessons from the projects they manage, and will work with other members of J-PAL’s research team to translate these lessons into guides and generalizable best practices, which will be published online and shared as training materials. Existing examples include a guide to working with administrative data, rules of thumb for power calculations, and a checklist for launching randomized evaluations. To disseminate these resources, the Research Manager will occasionally represent J-PAL North America at conferences or training events. This may include presenting or providing teaching assistance at events that J-PAL hosts, such as Executive Education and Research Staff Training. 


  • Education: Master’s degree or PhD in economics, public policy, or another related field. A technical understanding of econometrics and impact evaluations.
  • Technical: a strong grasp of randomized evaluation design and methodology and an interest in ensuring evaluations and interventions are implemented faithfully, following best practices.
  • Experience: 4 or more years of relevant work experience, including 2 years analyzing data and 2 years working on a quantitative research project focusing on impact evaluation (can be concurrent). Experience on a randomized evaluation is strongly desired. 
  • Management: strong leadership and relationship-building skills. Previous experience managing staff is a plus.
  • Organization: project and time management skills with a demonstrated ability to prioritize among projects, push forward external stakeholders and move initiatives forward on tight timelines.
  • Communication: advanced oral and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate technical subjects to non-technical audiences
  • Attitude: passionate about poverty-alleviation, policy, and the rigorous research that informs it. You value diversity and are self-motivated, work hard, and enjoy working in teams.


Working at J-PAL North America

About the Organization

We are a regional office of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. We have a staff of about 30 research, policy and administrative professionals who work with affiliated professors and implementing partners to generate and disseminate evidence on what works to reduce poverty in North America.

Our staff are committed to our mission of reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. We pride ourselves on our inclusive and collaborative workplace culture. Our values statement and more information about J-PAL North America are available here.

Professional Development

  • Learn: J-PAL North America supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly seminars and lunches covering the most current topics in economic research, engage in small-group discussions with other J-PAL staff, and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program.
  • Engage: Research Managers work with J-PAL’s academic affiliates and directors, and with policymakers and practitioners.
  • Travel: The Research Manager may have the opportunity to travel occasionally to provide in-person support to partners and attend events.
  • Grow: J-PAL actively focuses on the professional development of its employees, and looks to improve the skills and knowledge of staff at all levels.


J-PAL hires highly qualified staff and rewards them accordingly. Total compensation packages are competitive for the non-profit and government fields with excellent MIT benefits. Benefits include (but are not limited to) comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match and pension-based retirement plan, commuter benefits, 3 weeks of paid vacation in your first year and 4 weeks of paid vacation every year after that.

How to Apply

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. J-PAL North America actively welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds and from those with backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in the field of economics.

Ready to join a team of collaborative, engaging, and fun colleagues? Apply now.

This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship.

Submit a short application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit, search for job ID 16767 (Research Manager - J-PAL North America), and complete an application. Please include:

  1. Cover letter (outlining why you are interested in J-PAL North America and why you are qualified for this role)
  2. Resume

Application deadline: We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basisShort-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing and technical exercise. Finalists will be called for an in-person interview.