Post-Doctoral Associate, King Climate Action Initiative - J-PAL

J-PAL Global
  • United States of America
  • Other advanced degree
Start Date (Earliest):
Length of Commitment:
Two years

Position Overview:

J-PAL’s King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI) is looking to hire one or more Post-Doctoral Associates for up to two years to conduct research as part of K-CAI with funding from King Philanthropies. Climate change disproportionately affects people living in poverty and threatens to reverse decades of progress in global poverty alleviation. Leaders around the world need more evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of technological and policy innovations in the real world to direct limited resources to solutions that address climate change and poverty. In 2020, J-PAL launched the King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI), a major research and policy initiative focused on combating climate change and poverty. K-CAI supports rigorous randomized evaluations and scale-ups of effective programs and policies to tackle the four greatest climate-related challenges facing our world: 

Climate change mitigation: Reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to slow the pace of climate change and its damaging effects

Pollution reduction: Reducing harmful carbon co-pollutants and thereby improving public health, without reducing critical access to energy

Climate change adaptation: Building people and communities’ ability to adapt to the economic, social, and environmental impacts of climate change, particularly in low- and middle-income countries

Energy access: Increasing access to affordable, reliable energy for people experiencing poverty and encouraging shifts in energy systems towards cleaner sources K-CAI consists of a research fund to study innovative interventions to combat climate change and poverty, and a scaling fund to provide technical assistance to policy partners to adapt, pilot, and scale the interventions found to be effective.

K-CAI research awards fund full randomized evaluations, pilot research projects, and travel/proposal development projects. K-CAI prioritizes evaluations that use administrative, satellite, and other remote sensing data to generate results more quickly and research with policy partners that can scale effective solutions that have the potential to benefit people in poverty. The post-doc position(s) will be based at one of the following locations based on team needs, and candidate work authorization and preferences: UC Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, or one of J-PAL's Regional Offices in Africa (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Europe (Paris School of Economics, France), Latin America & the Caribbean (PUC, Santiago, Chile), the Middle East and North Africa (American University of Cairo, Egypt), South Asia (IFMR, Delhi, India), Southeast Asia (University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia). Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the country where they would like to be based.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

The postdoc will work with J-PAL affiliated researchers and stakeholders in a subset of K-CAI priority countries to develop new research projects and design the piloting, monitoring, and research agenda around new projects. The majority of the postdoc’s time will be spent on academic research using randomized controlled trials. Approximately 50% of the postdoc's time will be devoted to their independent research projects and the remaining 50% to K-CAI research efforts.  

Other duties may include supporting efforts to increase collaboration with researchers based in priority countries including mentoring and collaborating with local researchers involved in the Initiative, supervising Initiative staff and PhD students in literature review and/or data analysis, and participating in the organization of events and seminars. The position offers the opportunity to join a research partnership with a strong track record of high-quality publication and policy impact; is likely to lead to several co-authored papers; and is designed to help the selected candidate launch a successful academic career with a strong research pipeline.

Supervision Received: The Post-Doctoral Associate will work with K-CAI co-chairs, Michael Greenstone and Kelsey Jack, as well as principal investigators on specific research projects. Supervision Exercised: The Post-Doctoral Associate will exercise academic supervision over research staff and PhD students involved in core Initiative activities and specific research projects.

Qualifications & Skills:

  • Education: A doctoral degree in economics, political science, public policy, computer science, or related fields is required. 
  • Experience: Candidates should have significant experience and a strong background in either implementing RCTs on their own and/or demonstrated research interest in one or several of the subject areas above.
  • 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.
  • Software proficiency: Stata or R required; Python, C, MATLAB or other programming skills preferred. GIS and/or remote sensing experience is also desirable.

How to Apply

Please apply for this position using the AEA's Job Openings for Economists portal: Applications are due December 1, 2020. We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis as we receive them.  

Applicants will be asked to submit the following materials:

  1. Cover letter: Please outline why you are interested in J-PAL and the King Climate Action Initiative and why you are qualified for this role. 
  2. Resume/CV: Please also include names of at least three references, with their email address and titles.
  3. Writing Sample: This should be an academic publication or working paper or thesis if PhD. For non-PhDs, please submit any other technical paper reflecting your research or technical skills.

Note: Shortlisted candidates will be required to submit at least three reference letters that should address the candidate’s ability to carry out their proposed research.