Research Support Assistant

J-PAL, Punjab, India

Skill Required:, Finance and AccountsResearch and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
1 to 3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
31st August, 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 have proven effective are scaled up. We have a growing number of partnerships in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Project description:

Agricultural practices that increase farmers’ productivity sometimes have negative environmental consequences. One example is the rise in crop residue burning after mechanized harvesting was adopted in many parts of India, particularly Punjab. Respiratory problems among children are one major cost of this practice. In association with the Government of Punjab, this study will assess the effectiveness of cash transfers to farmers that are conditional on not using stubble burning to clear paddy fields and the effects on this for child health. The study is currently being rolled out in the districts of Bathinda and Faridkot in Punjab.

Roles and responsibilities:

The Research Support Assistant will work closely with academic researchers and other field staff to perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to:

  • Managing and coordinating with teams: recruit, train, supervise both field-based and data operations teams, with support from the Research Operations vertical and RAs
  • Overseeing field operations while keeping a research design perspective in mind, with support from RAs/RM
  • Assisting in designing survey questionnaires, conducting qualitative research, running pilot exercise to refine survey instruments
  • Supporting the project in setting up and managing field offices with support from the A&F and RO verticals
  • Supervise data collection and entry to ensure quality of the data at each stage in accordance to the research protocols
  • Support on all administrative tasks associated with data collection and field management
  • Assist in preparing documents and presentations for dissemination and reporting, where requested
  • Assist with data cleaning, where requested, with greater oversight from the RAs/RM/PIs
  • Report to RM/PIs on all of the above-mentioned activities.
  • The RSA will be based in Bathinda/Faridkot, in Punjab, with frequent travel to field locations. The role is for a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 months, depending on availability of funding.

Skills and experiences:

  • Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in economics, social sciences, public policy
  • Prior field experience strongly preferred
  • Fluent Punjabi speaker and reader
  • Research experience of 0-2 years
  • Familiarity with RCTs
  • Strong quantitative skills
  • Working knowledge of Stata and SurveyCTO preferred


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