Research Support Assistant / Research Associate - Evaluating property tax reforms in Tamil Nadu: outsourcing re-assessment of properties and self-certification of properties- J-PAL South Asia

J-PAL South Asia
  • India
Start Date (Earliest):

Project: Evaluating property tax reforms in Tamil Nadu: outsourcing re-assessment of properties and self-certification of properties

Position: Research Associate/Research Support Associate

Number of Positions: 1

Country: India

State: Tamil Nadu

Start Date (earliest): ASAP

Start Date (latest, if any): 7th June 2024

Length of Commitment: 3 months

Education: Bachelor’s/Master’s in Economics, Statistics, Education of related fields

Organization: J-PAL South Asia at IFMR

Language requirement: Tamil, EnglishPIs: Esther Duflo (MIT), Ben Olken (MIT), Rema Hanna (Harvard), Shreya Tandon (PhD Student – Harvard)

 Job Description: 

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) J-PAL was established in 2003 as a research center at the Economics Department at MIT. Since then, it has grown into a global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. J-PAL is propelled by a first-rate team dedicated to research, policy, training, and other vital work, supporting J-PAL's mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.  J-PAL South Asia, which is based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) in India, analyses and disseminates research results and builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure that policy is driven by evidence, and that programs proven effective are scaled up. We have a growing number of partnerships in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. 

Primary Project Description:

Strengthening the enforcement and collection of property tax is a key lever for increasing state revenues. This study aims to answer two questions: Is outsourcing property tax assessments a cost-effective way to increase property tax revenue and improve assessment accuracy? What is the optimal contract to incentivize third-party firms to complete assessments quickly and accurately? Is outsourcing property tax assessments a low-cost way to bring new properties into the tax net and increase property tax revenues? How should the self-assessment system be designed to incentivize accurate reporting by tax-payers?

The study will be implemented in collaboration with officials in the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). The research team is evaluating the effectiveness of flat fee and performance-based outsourcing contracts relative to each other and to property assessments performed by existing tax assessors employed by the GCC. 

The research associate will be based in Chennai and will work closely with the PIs and the research team. The role will be focused on developing tools for collecting data to evaluate the interventions to be implemented by the GCC. They will also be responsible for the secure transfer and processing of relevant administrative data shared by the GCC which will be used for evaluating the interventions.

Finally, the research associate will manage the field activities for data collection, set-up data management systems, ensure the quality of the recorded data and conduct preliminary data analysis. 

 Research Associate Roles and Responsibilities:

The RA will work closely with academic researchers and other field staff to perform a variety tasks including, but not limited to:

·      Designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercises, refining study design and surveying instruments.

·      Managing teams: Recruit, train, and supervise both field-based and data operations teams consisting of project assistants, field managers, field-based surveyors, data entry operators and other field and office staff.

·      Overseeing implementation of the evaluation in accordance to the research design, in association with our partner organization.

·      Maintaining relationships with partner organizations at both headquarters and field levelsSupervising data collection and data-entry, and ensuring data quality and productivity.

·      Assisting with data cleaning, preliminary data analysis, and preparation of documents and presentations for dissemination

·      ­­­­­Reporting to PIs on all of the above-mentioned activities.

·      Maintain compliance with all J-PAL protocols and policies.  

Desired Qualifications and Experience: 

·      A Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Statistics, Education or related fields.

·      Experience living in a developing country is a strong plus.

·      Excellent management and organizational skills along with strong quantitative skills.

·      Fluency and excellent communication skills in Tamil, and English.

·      Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player.

·      Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations

·      Knowledge of data analysis in Stata.

·      Familiarity with impact evaluations and randomized controlled trials, in particular, preferred.

·      Willingness to live in Chennai and travel extensively to study sites across Tamil Nadu is essential. 

Note on Work Authorizations: 

Candidates must have work authorization to work in India. This covers citizens of India, Nepal, or Bhutan, Persons of Indian origin (PIO), and an Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).  

How to Apply

If you are interested in this position, please click on the apply button on the JD here; the first-time users will be asked to sign up and upload the CV, cover letter, and academic transcripts (optional).

For any queries, please write to [email protected].