Research Associate

J-PAL , United States

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
2 years of relevant work experience
Closing Date for Applications: 
13th September, 2019

Job Description

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a research center at the Economics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA. J-PAL’s mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence, and research is translated into action.

J-PAL's Education sector is recruiting an Education Measurement Research Associate to support an exciting new body of work aimed at improving the measurement of learning outcomes in education research (especially in low- and middle-income countries). This work will result in enabling scientifically valid comparisons of learning levels across countries and contexts and of impact estimates from interventions aimed at improving learning. Masha Bertling, Education Measurement Fellow at J-PAL, is leading this work with guidance from Karthik Muralidharan (University of California, San Diego, J-PAL Education Sector Co-chair) and Abhijeet Singh (Stockholm School of Economics).

This is a paid, full-time position, starting in Summer 2019. The position is based at J-PAL’s office in Cambridge, MA.


The Research Associate will support Masha in the development of global public goods to improve the measurement of learning outcomes. This will entail:

  • Reading, interpreting, and documenting results from education interventions in low- and middle-income countries
  • Extracting data from academic papers and technical reports to catalog items used to measure learning outcomes;
  • Coordinating data collection;
  • Processing incoming data; restructuring data files; evaluating data quality and performing data cleaning operations; sort, update, and merge data files, and performing various forms of statistical, psychometric and data analysis using STATA and/or R;
  • Writing technical memos that document data processing decisions and summarizing the quality of data;
  • Participating in various stages of producing reports, proposals, and papers to include literature searches; preparing figures, charts, and tables; and fact-checking and documentation;
  • Creating codebooks, item maps, and other documentation;
  • Assisting in general project support, including scheduling meetings and note-taking;
  • May be required to perform other tasks and duties reasonably related to job responsibilities.


Strong candidates will have:

  • Bachelor’s degree in statistics, economics, education, public policy, psychology, or a related field with a minimum of two years of experience required (which may include experience gained as an undergraduate). Master’s degree preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience with a statistical or database programming language (e.g., R, STATA);
  • Good understanding of and experience with quantitative research methods;
  • Strong technical documentation skills and data management experience;
  • Demonstrated interest in social policy issues and research;
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a challenging, multicultural, fast-paced, and changing work environment;
  • Skilled at multitasking; able to coordinate, organize, prioritize, and execute responsibilities in the face of conflicting priorities and unexpected situations;
  • Fluency in Microsoft Word and Excel;
  • Strong interpersonal skills;
  • Excellent attention to detail;
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills;
  • Strong work ethic.


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