Innovations for Poverty Action seeks a qualified Research Associate to manage a study that will use several interventions to understand the barriers to consumption smoothing among rural farmers in Zambia. Specifically, the study explores what drives the “hungry season”, the fact that farmers that appear to have plenty at harvest time run out of food and go hungry later in the year. The study will involve a randomized experiment that will use several interventions that try to uncover the drivers of this behavior. The Principal Investigators are Ned Augenblick (University of California, Berkeley), Kelsey Jack (Tufts University), Supreet Kaur (University of California, Berkeley) and Nicholas Swanson (University of California, Berkeley).

This position provides an excellent opportunity to gain extensive hands‐on experience in a field setting and to have significant management responsibility in a vibrant organization undertaking cutting‐edge development research. Key areas of involvement will include: piloting, designing survey questionnaires, recruiting, training and managing survey teams, designing and supervising logistics for the field activities, cleaning and analyzing survey data and assisting in the writing of project reports and policy memos.

Project description:

Rural agricultural workers in Zambia have consumption patterns that vary substantially over the year: high levels of consumption at harvest are accompanied by substantial reductions during the cropping season. The “hungry season” leading up to harvest appears to impose large hardships on households. For instance, during focus groups many farmers describe having to reduce the amount they are eating during this time, sometimes to as little as one meal per day. These costs raise the question of why rural households do not smooth consumption more, especially given that the hungry season is an event that occurs year after year.

We are designing a study to investigate this question in rural Zambia. The project will involve a randomized trial of interventions that might alleviate constraints to households smoothing consumption. We will measure impacts using household surveys. The position will be based either in Chipata (Eastern Province) or Mumbwa (Central Province).

Responsibilities 
  • Developing and piloting the survey instruments and interventions, including programming digital data collection; managing the translation and back-translation of the survey into the local language.
  • Hiring, training, and managing the field teams that will conduct the data collections.
  • Managing all field logistics, procuring products, and getting approvals from local authorities.
  • Ensuring all data quality protocols are followed including auditing enumerators and performing daily checks of the incoming data; correcting the errors of staff iteratively to ensure the data is of the highest quality.
  • Managing the data from collection at the household to delivery of a final, cleaned dataset.
  • Managing the budget including tracking all expenses to ensure costs are within project funds.
  • Managing the project budget and field expenses. formulation of direction and strategy
  • Perform related duties as assigned by supervisor
  • Maintain compliance with all company policies and procedures
Qualifications 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including ability to effectively communicate with internal and external customers
  • A Bachelor's or Master’s degree in economics, public policy, international development, public health or related fields.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills with strong quantitative skills.
  • Knowledge of Stata; programming and other technical knowledge a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead staff efficiently to achieve project goals.
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently and a team player.
  • Experience working (preferably in a research-related capacity) in developing countries.
  • Familiarity with randomized controlled trials.
  • Excellent computer proficiency (MS Office – Word, Excel and Outlook)
  • Must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines, while maintaining a positive attitude and providing exemplary customer service
  • Ability to work independently and to carry out assignments to completion within parameters of instructions given, prescribed routines, and standard accepted practices
  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred
Application Instructions 

Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Research Associate, Hungry Seasons”.  Most applications for research positions require you to include at minimum two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose (cover letter), CV, and transcripts.

Note that you are able to submit your application before your references complete their recommendation letters; however, you must include their contact information before submitting your application.

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.