Research Support Assistant, Economic Consequences of Depression - J-PAL South Asia

Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
One year
Start Date 
October 01, 2019

We are hiring a Research Support Assistant (RSA) to work with the Research Associates overseeing the Economic Consequences of Depression Project hosted by the Behavioral Economics Lab in Goa, India. This role requires both management and research skills. The lab is made up of roughly 10 to 15 local staff and 2 Research Associates. The RSA will help the Research Associates in managing the day-to-day operations of the lab, will be responsible for the administration of the study, and will communicate with the field staff members.

Management responsibilities include hiring and overseeing field staff members, managing and monitoring surveys and surveyors, and laboratory task administration. They will also have to carefully manage finances, money, receipts, expenses and reimbursements. Additionally, they will help the Research Associates with data systems management. The project is currently up and running and field operations are in full swing. We are looking for an RSA to seamlessly fit into the project and be creative with ideas to scale-up, maintain and improve field operations. This requires solution and detail oriented thinking, the capacity to build strong connections with our current and also new potential partners and representing the projects and the lab in such a way that forges meaningful and professional partnerships. A thorough understanding of the project, randomized evaluations and team management is necessary. Knowledge of behavioral economics, coding, and data skills are a huge plus. Project-related decisions often need to be made in a timely and independent manner; the successful RSA will oversee the day-to-day functioning of the project while assisting the Research Associates to move forward with a plan of action. There is a lot of room for RSAs to float ideas and guide the direction of field operations and we are looking for people who will be willing to come up with ideas, and spend many hours carrying them out in the field. 


  • Dr Johannes Haushofer - Assistant Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs (Princeton University);
  • Dr Vikram Patel – Pershing Square Professor of Global Mental Health (Harvard Medical School);
  • Dr Jonathan de Quidt - Assistant Professor (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University);
  • Dr. Gautam Rao - Assistant Professor of Economics;
  • Dr. Frank Schilbach - Assistant Professor of Economics (MIT);
  • Pierre-Luc Vautrey – Ph.D candidate, Department of Economics (MIT);
  • Bhargav Bhat – Sr. Researcher and Data Manager (Sangath, Goa).

Project: We focus on research that explores the intersection of behavioural and development economics. The proposed study follows up on two recently-completed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that provided psychotherapy to depressed individuals in India, conducted between 2013 and 2017 in India and led by Dr. Vikram Patel. We are conducting new surveys and collecting experimental data to measure the impact of the original intervention on three broad sets of outcomes: (i) long-run mental health; (ii) economic well-being including labor supply, earnings, savings, and consumption; (iii) beliefs and information processing, as well as social, risk, and time preferences. The latter two types of outcomes are the key innovation of this proposal, as measuring these outcomes will make progress toward economists' understanding of how to model depression and its impacts on economic behavior. Our projected is situated in within the larger scope of the Behavioral Economics Lab based out of Chennai, India. We are striving to build an extensive research agenda that explores in establishing a potential relationship between living in poverty and decision-making, cognitive function, and productivity. 

Research Support Assistant – Roles & Responsibilities:

  • Assist in designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, refining survey instruments
  • Manage field based staff: Recruit, train, and supervise field-based staff
  • Supervise and monitor data-collection and data-entry
  • Manage finances, expenses, receipts and reimbursements
  • Assist with data-cleaning
  • Support on all administrative tasks associated with data collection and field management
  • Communicate with partner organisations
  • Work with the Research Associate on all of the above


  • A Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in economics or other related social sciences with substantial quantitative work preferred.
  • Knowledge of Stata and/or R required
  • Familiarity with RCTs
  • Strong communication (oral and written) and interpersonal skills.
  • Fluency in English and Marathi are required Konkani is highly valuable and speakers are encouraged to apply

Note on Work Authorizations:  Candidates must have work authorization to work in India. This covers citizens of India, Nepal or Bhutan, and an Overseas Citizens of India (OCI). 

How to Apply

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the [Research] job category, then select "[Research Support Assistant, Economic Consequences of Depression - J-PAL South Asia]” and include resume, cover letter, transcripts, and two recommendation letters. Note that applications with incomplete submissions will not be considered.

You are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application. Given the volume of applications received, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.