Predoctoral Fellow

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), United States

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
1 to 3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
25th March, 2019

Job Description

Job Summary:

Since its inception in 2014, the Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD) has brought together top-tier researchers to conduct and disseminate rigorous interdisciplinary research that identifies and explores the conditions under which people develop the skills necessary to thrive in society and achieve their fullest potential. CEHD’s research is guided by Professor James J. Heckman to include a comprehensive array of interrelated and interdisciplinary projects and initiatives which promote a thorough empirical understanding of human flourishing. Unifying this research is an evolving body of ideas that capacities and skills acquired over the lifecycle, starting at conception, transform many aspects of the life course at all stages, ranging from employment and earning prospects to overall health. Professor James J. Heckman and his research team work to advance knowledge by producing empirical and theoretical research that integrates ideas and methods across the social and natural sciences and creates rigorous evidence for public policy.

CEHD’s robust research initiatives produce innovative, sound, evidence-based support for high-quality investments in programs that foster skills over the lifecycle. The research specialist will contribute to these initiatives, participating in a variety of research projects in human capital, labor economics, and the economics of education and will gain experience in all aspects of the research process. Responsibilities range across the research cycle and will include cleaning and analyzing large datasets, proposing grants for new projects, writing reports or papers, and presenting research. CEHD researchers are uniquely empowered to make vital contributions to the Center's work through collaboration and early-career co-authorship.

The two historic houses at 5740 and 5750 S. Woodlawn Avenue, once the home of the University of Chicago Lab School’s Nursery School, continue their lives as the physical home for the Center for the Economics of Human Development, deeply connecting CEHD to its mission. Within these houses, researchers are immersed in rigorous and meaningful research evaluating the lasting impact of early childhood development on children throughout their lives, working together cohesively, holding impromptu and scheduled workshops and conferences, and collaborating with leadership, academic visitors and research partners. This framework brings a wide breadth of experience to our team with key researchers engaged with CEHD throughout all the stages of their academic careers. The culture of continued engagement has cultivated a thriving research community in which senior researchers mentor and supervise junior researchers in support of over thirty active research projects.


  • Clean and describe data, generating graphs, tables, or other summaries
  • Program in Stata, Python, R, or Matlab to analyze data using econometric tools
  • Collaborate with research team to develop economic models for projects
  • Write and/or proofread academic papers, reports, and presentations
  • Write and/or proofread grants
  • Train and supervise undergraduate research assistants
  • Responsibly handle confidential data


  • Working knowledge of research techniques in empirical economics
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills and an enthusiasm for learning new methods and skills independently
  • Strong ability to coordinate work with others and teams
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent organization and attention to detail

Additional Requirements​​

Education, Experience, or Certifications:

Education: Bachelor’s Degree, conferred by Summer 2019, in economics or related quantitative field is required


  • A minimum of one year of research experience with quantitative academic research required
  • Additional professional experience in consulting and project management preferred
  • Experience programming and working with empirical data preferred
  • Experience working successfully in stressful environments and problem solving preferred

Technical Knowledge or Skills:

  • Proficiency in Stata required
  • Proficiency in LaTeX required
  • Proficiency of Microsoft Office suite required
  • Proficiency of Google Suite required
  • Experience with R, Matlab, Python helpful


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