Crime, violence, and a weak rule of law jointly present some of the most pressing issues for Latin America. They affect citizen behavior and relations at every level of society, so these shortcomings impose a significant cost on the economy and constitute a severe threat to economic development and political stability. This project seeks to explore how to design local police forces in Mexico (and Latin America more broadly) that can rise to the challenge of reducing violence, increasing institutional legitimacy and trust in institutions, and strengthening the rule of law. The project thus focuses on three sets of questions:

  1. The specific organizational capabilities and structural characteristics that are systematically proven to deliver better results (or questions of basic organizational design);
  2. The process and sequence through which these organizational capabilities should be incorporated into new or existing police organizations (or questions of organizational construction and change);
  3. How, given an organizational design, police organizations can build citizen engagement, participation, and trust through their protocols, practices, and interactions with citizens (or questions of the enactment of practices). This includes an understanding of how police organizations in Mexico should implement evidence-based interventions that have been proven to effectively reduce violence.

Initiative

Overwhelming evidence has demonstrated that crime in general and violence in particular, is “concentrated in a small number of high-risk places, during high risk times, and generated by a small number of risky people” (Braga 2015). In support of this, it has been shown that the concentration of efforts towards a small number of places, people, and behaviors through evidence-based interventions can have substantial and long-lasting effects (in contrast, large-scale, comprehensive, or holistic programs have proven ineffective (Gravel et al. 2012 and Matjasko et al 2012)).

Under the academic leadership of Rodrigo Canales, Associate Professor at the Yale School of Management, and in collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), we aim to pilot and rigorously evaluate a ceasefire approach as described above in Mexico City, with the objective to measure its impact on homicide reduction, amongst other outcomes

The objective is to proceed in two phases. The first phase will consist of a thorough pilot in which we carefully observe the development of crucial elements of the methodology and adapt it to the Mexican context, starting from a very clear mapping of the theory of change. After successfully piloting the program, the second phase will consist in the design and implementation of a randomized controlled trial, with the aim to measure the impact of focused deterrence strategies on crime reduction in general and homicide reduction more specifically. One of the biggest challenges is that these programs create important spillovers (diffusion versus displacement) which can lead to a contamination of the control group, which is why we suggest a multisite cluster randomization, where clusters of subject are randomly assigned to treatment and control groups.

Responsibilities 
  • Organizing and generating content.
  • Reviewing papers and producing literature reviews.
  • Drafting PowerPoint presentations, policies briefs, summaries and reports.
  • Supporting field work and logistics.
  • Adapting materials to the Mexican context.
  • Supervising timelines.
  • Help with administrative load.
  • Attending to meetings and help with the follow up.
Qualifications 
  • Fluency in English and Spanish with strong communication skills.
  • Good writing skills both in English and Spanish.
  • Analytical capacity.
  • Proactivity and the ability to take initiative.
  • Excellent computer proficiency (Google Drive – Docs, Spreadsheet and slides, MS Office – Word, Excel and Outlook).
  • Ability to work independently and to carry out assignments with limited supervision; respect timeline and deliver high quality work.
  • Bachelor’s degree in public policy, sociology, anthropology, social psychology or similar.
  • Experience in security projects.
  • Experience in project management.

Mexican work permit is required.

Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Finance and Operations job category, then select “Project Assistant, Mexico”. Applications require a statement of purpose (cover letter) and CV.

Given the volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview

About IPA 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 575 leading academics to conduct over 650 evaluations in 51 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

Disclaimers 

Innovations for Poverty Action is an EO Employer-MF/Veteran/Disability. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected class. IPA will endeavor to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business. If you believe you require such assistance to complete this form or to participate in an interview, please contact us at jobs@poverty-action.org or via phone at 1-203-772-2216. Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the specified position. The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to jobs@poverty-action.org.

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.