Innovations for Poverty Action seeks a Research Associate to manage a project that will answer questions related to take up, selection, and use/satisfaction of mobile insurance, across different enrollment methods (solicitation vs no solicitation), different controlled audio messages at the point of sale (disclosure, behavioral marketing), and different follow-up scenarios. The project is led by Michael King (University of Trinity Dublin) and Paolina del Carmen Medina Palma (Texas A&M University).
Development and roll-out of mobile insurance in developing countries has only begun recently. Insurance regulators do not yet have a clear understanding of the associated consumer protection implications and have not yet developed evidence based regulatory guidelines for interactions with customers. We expect this research to provide evidence on the efficacy of aggressive telemarketing and provide guidance on the effectiveness of disclosure solutions. On the assumption that our disclosure interventions are effective, the findings will empower regulators to pursue interventionist policies to ensure customers are better informed about terms and conditions and claims processes. This research project studies the effect of regulatory disclosures and behaviorally informed advertising strategies on take-up, renewal and claims for mobile hospitalization insurance provided by a large mobile network operator (MNO) and insurance provider in Tanzania. We use consumer protection motivated pre-recorded messages played during phone call solicitations, cross-randomized with informative follow text messages, to study changes in composition of the insured pool, and changes in user behavior. The study will include 4 groups:
- Group 1: As a benchmark, we will study the characteristics and behavior of a random sample of 4,000 individuals that “self-enroll” in to the mobile insurance product by directly calling the MNO and without receiving a phone solicitation call.
To study the effect of different solicitation messages, we will randomize 150,000 pre-screened MNO users, into three groups of equal size to receive phone solicitations as follows:
- Group 2: Phone solicitations with standard script currently used by the insurance provider.
- Group 3: Phone solicitations with standard script and an additional pre-recorded disclosure message.
- Group 4: Phone solicitations with standard script and an additional pre-recorded behaviorally informed marketing message.
We will complement administrative data on all of these individuals with two rounds of phone surveys with 12,000 respondents each to gather information on socioeconomic characteristics, historical health outcomes, experiences of insurance and use of informal insurance mechanisms
The Research Associate will work closely with the Research Manager, Principal Investigators, staff from the implementing partners, and other IPA country office staff to oversee the implementation of the research study including the development and roll-out of the consumer disclosure messaging. The position offers an opportunity to gain first-hand field management experience in an organization undertaking cutting-edge development research. The work will develop your analytical and management skills and require your full commitment in a challenging environment. This position will likely be based in Dar es Salaam and requires frequent travel to the field sites.
The Research Associate will perform a variety of tasks including, but not limited to:
- Leading the implementation of the research study, including phone surveys of 12,000 individuals and collection of administrative data from the insurance provider and MNO partner
- Managing budgets, timelines, contract worker payroll, and procurement
- Managing day-to-day relationships with the insurance provider and MNO partner for this project
- Leading the development of the consumer disclosure messaging; overseeing the implementation of this intervention
- Measuring and enforcing adherence to data quality protocols, including auditing enumerators, monitoring data collection, and conducting data quality audits;
- Developing reports and deliverables for donors
- Managing relationships with key stakeholders
- Writing reports detailing research findings and proposed interventions;
- Performing related duties as assigned by supervisor; and
- Maintaining compliance with IPA policies and procedures
- Bachelor's degree in economics, international development, public policy or related fields; Master's Degree an advantage
- Excellent project management and organizational skills; meticulous attention to detail
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English; communication skills in KiSwahili an advantage
- A strong understanding of research methods and prior training/experience in conducting quantitative research
- Proficiency in Stata or similar data analysis software and MS Office
- Creativity and intellectual curiosity in experimental methods, ability to find quick and effective solutions to unforeseen circumstances
- Flexible, independent, self-motivating, ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and work under pressure
- Interest in consumer protection and economic development
- Ability to work in a diverse, multi-cultural environment
Complete the J-PAL/IPA common application. After completing a brief registration, choose the Research job category, then select “Research Associate, Mobile Insurance”. 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.
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.
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** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.