Research Associate - Caste Project

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Bihar, India

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
1 to 3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
18th January, 2019

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.

Project Description:

The project is part of the suite of projects on Social Networks, set of projects working on developing new methodologies to infer social network structures, examining how groups of individuals in a social network form beliefs and aggregate information, and understanding barriers to information diffusion within a network. The projects work on thematic areas such as financial inclusion, labor markets, and affirmative action. The results from these projects can then be used by policymakers to design efficient and cost-effective information campaigns.

This project studies the role of affirmative action-type policies in shaping social structure in the context of Indian political reservations for historically disadvantaged caste groups in the state of Bihar, India.

The project aims to measure changes in beliefs, changes to the costs of cross-group interactions, as well as the net change to the village network structure due to affirmative action-type policies, and linking these to speed and extent of social learning.

Research Associate Roles and Responsibilities:

The RA will work closely with academic researchers and other field staff to perform a variety of 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 with the research design, in association with our partner organization.
  • Maintaining relationships with partner organizations at both headquarters and field levels
  • Supervising 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:

  • Bachelor's/ Master's degree in economics, social sciences, public policy, or related fields
  • Experience-0-2 years
  • Experience in a developing country
  • Excellent management/ organizational skills and ability to solve unexpected problems
  • Strong quantitative skills
  • Working knowledge of Stata, Matlab/R (strongly preferred)
  • Familiarity with RCTs
  • Demonstrated experience managing a team
  • Flexible, self-motivating, independent and manages multiple tasks efficiently
  • Ability to deal with unstructured and changing environments
  • Attention to detail


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