Research Postdoctoral Fellow JOI Brazil - J-PAL LAC

  • Brazil
Start Date (Earliest):
Start Date (Latest):
Length of Commitment:
One year

Applicant Requirements

  • Education: Ph.D. 
  • Additional languages required: Yes (English and Portuguese)   

Deadline for applying: April 22, 2023 

Job Description

J-PAL Latin America and the Caribbean (J-PAL LAC) is recruiting a Research Postdoctoral Fellow with a focus on Labor Markets to contribute to its mission of promoting evidence-informed policy. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of over 750 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. 

The J-PAL LAC office, based at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), leads J-PAL’s work in the LAC region. The Fellow will be responsible for scoping and incubating research projects with the potential to apply to the Jobs and Opportunities Initiative in Brazil. The Jobs and Opportunity Initiative - Brazil is housed inside J-PAL's Jobs and Opportunity Initiative (JOI), and is one of J-PAL's 27 worldwide Initiatives. J-PAL initiatives concentrate funding and other resources around priority topics for which rigorous policy-relevant research is urgently needed. JOI aims to generate a body of policy-relevant rigorous research that addresses pressing labor market challenges. Knowledge gaps include questions about supply and matching, job creation, and the future of jobs. JOI aims to offer guidance for implementing organizations, governments, and donors so that policies can be guided by scientific evidence to improve employment outcomes. In Brazil, JOI Brazil was launched in 2021 thanks to generous support from Fundação Arymax, B3 Social, Potencia Ventures, Fundação Tide Setubal, and the Interamerican Development Bank. So far, we have 25+ organizations in Brazil supported with technical assistance by JOI Brazil, 2 policy summaries published, and 2 RFPs concluded, providing funding to 7 ongoing research projects.   

The Research Fellow will work with co-chairs Marianne Bertrand (University of Chicago) and Claudio Ferraz (University of British Columbia), the J-PAL LAC office, and the JOI team at J-PAL Global to build a network of potential partners and prepare high-quality proposals for JOI Brazil. The majority of the Fellow’s time will be spent on creating opportunities for academic research using RCTs in collaboration with the fellow’s advisors and other academics from the J-PAL network. It is expected for the position to get involved in the evaluations. Other duties may include supporting local researcher and partner engagement, supervising literature review and/or data analysis contextualized to the LAC region, and participating in the organization of events and seminars.

The Postdoctoral fellow will be based at INSPER in São Paulo. The fellow would leverage J-PAL’s presence in Brazil and will work with JOI Brazil's Manager and Associate to implement training and policy events and activities. The fellow will work to position the J-PAL network as a key player in helping inform labor market policies in Brazil.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion

Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to address the complex causes and consequences of poverty. To advance our mission, J-PAL LAC must draw on diverse experiences from our staff and affiliated researchers in order to ask better questions and identify better solutions. We are working to increase the limited representation of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in the economics profession. We are committed to engaging in self-reflection, learning, and dialogue to nurture understanding across differences. Together, we will build an equitable, inclusive culture where everyone is respected, empowered, and heard.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

The Fellow's responsibilities would include, but are not limited to the following: 

Outline priorities and possibilities for policy-relevant RCTs and evidence-to-policy partnerships:

  • Work on the existing research agenda and update it if needed with the supervision of academic advisors
  • Map relevant actors and opportunities and define an agenda for approaching them.
  • Coordinate constantly with advisors, J-PAL LAC, and JOI Brazil team to revise the focus and coordinate the agenda

Identify opportunities for using administrative data for impact evaluations in Brazil. If applicable, this would include: 

  • Work with data providers who want to better analyze their data and use it for experiments to evaluate innovative programs.
  • Conducting policy outreach to promote wider access to and use of administrative data in experiments.

Catalyze and support the application to JOI Brazil of strategic research projects

  • Forge links with implementing partners identified by affiliates and invited researchers and new related partners.
  • Carry out matchmaking conversations for specific projects and assist in drafting research proposals. 
  • Identify with advisors those research projects for which the fellow would be more involved to promote his/ her own research

Leverage J-PAL’s presence in the region and promote long-term policy partnerships and policy influence.

  • Identify opportunities for longer-term partnerships and coordinate the communication between them, J-PAL LAC, and the JOI Brazil team. 
  • Forge links with international organizations and other relevant actors and identify potential synergies and areas for collaboration
  • Identify potential collaborations with local and national governments in case suitable 
  • Build awareness of JOI Brazil and J-PAL research on labor markets with Brazilian partners. This could imply participation in the organization of events, webinars, and seminars, among others. 
  • Represent J-PAL at regional conferences on labor-related issues.

Independent research (~35 percent of role):

  • Carry out or contribute to original research projects related to labor markets in Brazil.

Qualifications and Skills

  • Education: A doctoral degree in economics, political science, public policy, or a related field is required. Preference will be given to recent graduates.
  • Language: Fluent in Portuguese and proficient in English. 
  • Experience: Candidates should have significant experience and a strong background in evidence synthesis, public policy, and qualitative research and/or demonstrated research interest in labor markets and/ or related fields. A mix between work experience and academic experience will be highly preferred. 
  • Field experience running randomized evaluations of social policies or programs and policy experience interpreting and sharing policy lessons from randomized evaluations will be highly valued. 
  • We value experience writing research funding proposals.
  • Proven expertise on topics related to labor markets in LAC.
  • Work style: Attention to detail and ability to work on projects independently.
  • Time management: Proven ability to handle several different projects/tasks at one time and meet deadlines. A willingness to work hard, be self-motivated, and learn will be essential for doing well in this position.
  • Data analysis skills, particularly in Stata and R

This position is open to Brazilian citizens or foreigners with visas and/or valid work permits in Brazil at the time of applying for this vacancy.

How to Apply

If you are interested, please follow the next steps before April 22:

Please apply by filling this form, where you will be asked to upload the following: 

a CV and short motivation letter.

  • One-page cover letter stating your qualifications and reasons for your interest in J-PAL. Feel free to share aspects of your life that might not be easy to spot on your CV but might make you a good candidate! This letter may be in English. 
  • One page curriculum vitae (resume) in English, including professional and academic references with contact information (we will only contact them as a final step of the selection process). 

Given the volume of applications received, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.