Research Associate, Flood Alerts

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

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
2 years of relevant work experience
Closing Date for Applications: 
29th March, 2019

Job Description

Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at the Center for International Development at Harvard University has partnered with India's IFMR LEAD, based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research, to evaluate pressing policy questions in collaboration with several government partners. Both IFMR LEAD and EPoD are dedicated to using rigorous evidence to address challenging questions at the intersection of economic development and public policy. Our cutting-edge research examines questions related to governance, financial inclusion, skills training, gender, and sustainable development, and it draws from a network of expert academics with expertise in India and around the world.

EPoD India, in partnership with its host institution, IFMR, is currently seeking a Research Associate to support a new field-based project based in Patna, Bihar. Further details on the project are outlined below.

The position requires a self-starting candidate who can conduct in-depth interviews and scoping activities, manage field activities and coordinate field staff for the execution of surveys and RCTs, and support with high quality cleaning and rigorous analysis of both primary and secondary data. The selected candidate will have the opportunity to join a team of leading economists and public policy experts from Harvard Kennedy School and EPoD India at IFMR LEAD to work on cutting-edge development research and gain first-hand experience working with policy partners, implementing surveys and field experiments, and conducting rigorous data analysis.

About the project:

Evidence for Policy Design is undertaking a study that aims to understand the impact of early warning systems for natural disasters (in this case, floods), and how information about impending floods change recipient behavior and spread within communities. We will be partnering with an alert provider to understand how alerts are generated, how alert recipients respond, and whether and how different kinds of information in alerts can allow for recipients to make better use of them. The project is at an early stage, allowing for the right candidate to provide valuable input to shape its direction. The first year is expected to include considerable scoping and one medium-sized survey in preparation for a larger-scale evaluation in a potential second year.


  • Oversee the day-to-day implementation of field-based research (scoping, surveying, project implementation) – including the management of field personnel, procurement, budgets, and reporting for the project
  • Assist in the design and field-testing of survey instruments and develop and implement appropriate structures and systems for a larger randomized intervention, including the procurement of supplies; development and oversight of field and quality control protocols; recruitment, training, and leading of field staff; and coordination with local partners
  • Seek out and collect administrative data from partners and government agencies
  • Conduct data cleaning, manipulation, and analysis using multiple primary and secondary data sources
  • Review and report on academic literature of requested topics in support of policy briefs and research projects
  • Contribute to analysis and writing of policy briefs for various government partners and case studies on EPoD project components
  • Manage day-to-day relationships with national, state, and lower-level government officials and other potential partners (academics, policy organizations, NGOs, etc.) as requested
  • Provide appropriate inputs for project management (budgets, reports, etc.) for EPoD and IFMR in India and for program monitoring and reporting to the management hub at Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard
  • Others, as required

Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's candidates with at least 2 years of experience with data-based research, preferably in economics or a related field. Field experience is a plus.
  • Strong interest in public policy and economic development in low-income countries.
  • Excellent oral and written English and Hindi communication skills.
  • Proficiency in Stata and the Microsoft Office suite is required; experience in spatial analysis
  • Mature, self-directed individual with ability to balance multiple tasks and prioritize effectively to meet deadlines in a fast-paced working environment.
  • Preferred Qualifications:
  • Master's degree in economics or related field.
  • Experience with hydrology, meteorological forecasting, or spatial analysis (e.g. ArcGIS) preferred.
  • Candidate should have strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to engage with policy partners of various levels.


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