Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

General Recruitment

Is J-PAL recruitment ongoing, or does it just occur during the annual recruitment drive?

J-PAL recruits applicants on a rolling basis, however the bulk of our hiring is done during the winter and spring. Hiring managers act according to their own timeline and are free to post positions as needed.

In many of your job descriptions, you state that candidates should be trained in microeconomics, econometrics, statistics, and advanced math. I have taken some of those courses, but not all. Am I still able to apply?

Yes, we prefer candidates who meet the basic requirements listed in our job descriptions, but you are still able to apply without meeting all of them. If this is the case, we encourage you to discuss in your personal statement how you strive to meet our criteria.

When will I know if I'm going to be interviewed or offered a job?

Both recruitment and hiring throughout the J-PAL network are highly decentralized. Each hiring manager and professor acts according to his/her own personal timeline, and only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. Because of the decentralized nature of the hiring process throughout the network, we are unable to provide feedback on the status of specific applications.

What types of positions are usually available?

J-PAL and its partner organizations employ more than 600 people, with most positions being research-focused. The bulk of our hiring is our research associate-level positions.

Are Project Associate and Research Associate positions entry-level positions?

While they are not appropriate for someone with a PhD, they can be appropriate for people with a master’s and some experience, particularly if the objective is to gain hands-on experience with field research. They can also be good opportunities for people who are looking for a more limited time commitment of one or two years (each job posting lists the desired commitment period).

What is the pay usually like?

Terms and conditions of employment (including pay) vary by job and with the candidate’s experience. In general, field-based PAs/RAs are paid a salary similar to a small stipend for living expenses in addition to airfare, health insurance, and visa costs. US-based positions and mid-level positions at J-PAL’s regional offices (e.g. research manager, policy manager) pay salaries competitive for the international development, nonprofit sector.

The job application deadline on the website has passed. Can I still apply to this position?

If a position is still posted on the website, you may still apply regardless of the posted deadline. J-PAL and IPA have very decentralized recruitment and many open positions. Hiring managers inform us when positions are filled so that we can take down the position. If the posting is still up, then they are still accepting applications.

What kinds of people usually get hired?

Since J-PAL is a research network of economists, candidates who have completed and performed well in intermediate-level coursework in economics, including microeconomics, development economics, and econometrics are preferred, especially for policy positions. For RA positions, we look for candidates with strong STATA skills and prior experience managing data collection. For positions based in developing countries, prior developing country experience is highly valued, and local language skills are desirable (and in the case of Spanish and French speaking countries, fluency is required). Most employees have either a bachelor's or a master's degree.

What do J-PAL positions lead to?

Many of those who have worked with the J-PAL network in the past have gone on to graduate studies, including at MIT (PhD in economics), Harvard (PhD in economics, law school, medical school, MPA/ID at the Kennedy School), Berkeley (PhD in economics), and other top schools. This partly reflects the quality of people who are accepted to these positions, but also the fact that our staff and others we work with acquire a range of important skills and experiences on the job.

 

J-PAL and many of its partners are growing organizations. Many mid-level positions are open for internal promotion. These positions may be field-based (e.g. Research Manager or Country Director positions) or US-based positions in research, policy, or training.

 

Check out this video of Shawn Cole, J-PAL affiliate and board member, giving a glimpse into life as an RA, and the opportunities that exist after J-PAL.

Are there any summer internship opportunities available? How do I apply?

The easiest way to find out about internship opportunities with J-PAL and partner organizations is to search our jobs database, filtering by internship - all current opportunities will be posted. Innovations for Poverty Action and IFMR Lead hold drives for summer internships, which usually begin in January. They will also occasionally post specific internship positions at other times of the year. J-PAL typically recruits for specific internship positions in the fall, spring and summer, the postings of which can be found on this site. J-PAL does not have an internship drive in the same manner as the above organizations.

What if I'm currently employed by a J-PAL or IPA affiliate and want to apply for one of the current openings?

People with previous experience on randomized evaluations can be great candidates for other positions within the network that require more responsibility. If you are currently employed by someone in the J-PAL network and are hoping to switch to a new position, project, or location, please talk with your supervisor(s) and principal investigator(s) about your goals and your plans in addition to applying.

Who should I contact if I can't find the answer to my question on the FAQ?

For all other inquiries, contact jobs@povertyactionlab.org, and we will do our best to respond to your email within a week.

Why should I apply and how should I prepare for a Research Associate (RA) position?

J-PAL has developed this resource to answer these questions and more.