Data Research Associate

J-PAL, India

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
1 to 3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
28th September, 2019

Job Description

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (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.

Project Descriptions:

  • In the slums of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in India, almost 45 percent of households use either public or communal toilets. However, the condition of these facilities is very poor. A preliminary survey showed that one in six facilities was completely non-functional. Households who were dissatisfied with the cleanliness of their community’s toilets were more likely to practice open defecation, and almost 30 percent of households reported doing so. Qualitative research suggests that these poor conditions may be caused by weak systems of accountability for toilet maintenance and repair.
  • The project, Communal Sanitation Solutions for Urban Slums in Orissa, India, aims to address the design, management and operational challenges of communal toilet facilities commonly found in urban slums by evaluating a mix of hardware and software interventions to increase toilet uptake and reduce rates of open defecation. We implement and evaluate the following activities:
  • At the toilet-block level (community toilet): Providing a package of design, infrastructure and operational improvements, such as an adequate number of gender-segregated toilets, washbasins and bathing stalls, adequate water and electricity, etc. This also includes operational improvements such as the creation of a sanitation management office at the municipal level, high standard toilet maintenance protocols, book-keeping aids, facility audit protocols, and a cleaning toolkit. All toilets will be managed by the communities themselves.
  • At the household level: We will experiment with pricing interventions with the aim of increasing household usage of sanitation services. For example, we will offer discount vouchers to (randomly-assigned) subsets of households and observe the impact on toilet use.
  • At community level: Introduce a set of community mobilization activities for demand generation for sanitation services, which is a variant of the popular Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) concept. These demand generation activities will be implemented amongst communities surrounding the community toilet facilities.
  • The study will identify which conditions lead to the most attractive, sustainable and hygienic alternatives to open defecation for slum residents.

Data 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:

  • Conduct data analysis for community toilet usage data
  • Clean the endline data as it is collected
  • Conduct analysis for the endline data
  • Draft a final project report with findings from the impact evaluation to the project funder with support from project PI and RM
  • Create public datasets and .do fies for replication

Desired Qualifications and Experience:

  • Intermediate to advanced Stata proficiency with experience having conducted some analysis (i.e. able to produce LaTex-ready graphs and regression tables)
  • Familiarity with LaTex
  • Knowledge of randomised controlled trials is required
  • Working knowledge of econometric methods and strong quantitative skills
  • A Bachelor's/Master's degree that includes courses in economics, social sciences, public policy, public health or related fields is a plus
  • Previous experience in development research preferred
  • Organized, self-motivating, and able to manage multiple tasks efficiently and work as a team player
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision
  • Strong writing and documentation skills


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