Policy Associate

Policy Associate - J-PAL North America

J-PAL Office 
United States
Language Requirement 
Start Date 
June 03, 2019

J-PAL North America, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, seeks a Policy Associate to contribute to its mission of promoting evidence-informed policy. We seek applicants from diverse backgrounds and especially welcome applicants with backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in the field of economics.

The Policy Associate will support J-PAL North America’s ongoing partnerships with philanthropic foundations, policymakers, and implementing partners. As a Policy Associate, your primary tasks will involve engaging stakeholders, supporting evaluations, managing the application and review process for research proposals, conducting policy outreach, and coordinating policy activities. Candidates should have an understanding of impact evaluation, training in economics and statistics, knowledge about social policy, and excellent communication skills.


Stakeholder engagement (15%): Participate in initial conversations with prospective partners to identify promising opportunities for randomized evaluations. Support and attend convenings designed to bring policymakers, practitioners, and researchers together to spur new research collaborations and share policy lessons from completed research.

Evaluation support (30%): Support collaborations with policymakers and practitioners to design randomized evaluations of innovative policies and programs. Share feasibility assessments and initial analyses with policymakers and researchers through in-person meetings, memos, and phone calls. You will learn how to help partners identify their target population, define eligibility criteria, refine their program’s theory of change, and identify constraints and potential threats to the integrity of the study.

Research proposal management (25%): Implement processes related to Requests for Proposals to fund randomized evaluations, including promoting funding opportunities among academic researchers, maintaining initiative records and tracking compliance in Salesforce, and organizing the application process.

Policy outreach (15%): Draft publications and presentations that summarize and synthesize the policy implications of key research results. Support the policy group in sharing evidence with policymakers and philanthropic partners.

Policy team coordination (15%): Provide support for general policy team activities such as engaging affiliated professors, recruitment and hiring, and coordinating across technical assistance or research initiative projects.

Professional Development 

J-PAL North America invests in your professional development. As a Policy Associate you will learn, engage, travel, and grow.

Learn: The Policy Group supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly seminars, engage in small-group discussions with other J-PAL staff, and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program.

Engage:  The Policy Associate will have the opportunity to work with J-PAL affiliates and directors, as well as interact with policymakers and practitioners. As member of the Policy team, the Policy Associate will help in the recruitment process and serve as teaching assistants for J-PAL’s capacity building courses.

Travel:  The Policy Associate may have the opportunity to travel to provide in-person support to selected partner organizations.

Grow: J-PAL actively focuses on the professional development of its employees and constantly looks to improve the skills and knowledge of staff at all levels.


J-PAL North America staff are MIT employees, which means they are eligible for a wide array of institutional benefits. Some of these MIT benefits include comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match up to 5% of salary and additional pension-based retirement plan, tuition assistance up to $5,250 per calendar year, commuter benefits (including fully subsidized unlimited MBTA pass), MIT community discounts, access to MyLifeServices, a generous vacation policy (3 weeks of paid vacation in your first year, and 4 weeks every year after that, plus an additional 12+ paid Institute-wide holidays per year), additional paid sick time as needed, and much more.


Education: You hold either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in economics, public policy, statistics, or a closely related field. You have training in statistics and quantitative methods.

Experience: This is a junior-level position requiring 0-4 years of relevant work experience. Policy Associates range from recent or soon-to-be graduates with related internships, to people with previous experience in research and/or policy work, to recent master’s students with just a couple of years of work experience. Prior demonstrated experience working with communities experiencing poverty in North America is a plus.

Communication: You are detail-oriented and have advanced writing skills. You can clearly communicate technical information to non-technical audiences. You have the ability to effectively communicate with a diverse group of J-PAL staff as well as policy and research partners.

Organization:  You can handle multiple projects at once, meet deadlines, and effectively manage your time.

Interest: You are passionate about policy that has the potential to reduce poverty and the rigorous research that informs it. You are keenly interested in poverty alleviation in the North American (primarily the United States and Canada) context in particular. You have a commitment to J-PAL North America’s organizational values, take initiative, and can work collaboratively with colleagues.

How to Apply

Ready to join a team of collaborative, inclusive, and inquisitive colleagues? Apply now.

This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship.

Submit an application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit http://jobs.mit.edu/external, search for job ID 16762 (Policy Associate - J-PAL North America), and complete an application.

In a single PDF uploaded to the resume field, please include:

  1. Cover letter addressing:
    1. What experiences you have had that demonstrate that you are able to work with communities experiencing poverty
    2. Your interest in poverty alleviation in the North America region, especially in the US and Canada
    3. Your qualifications, and how they have prepared you to be effective in the Policy Associate role
  2. Resume
  3. Transcripts (unofficial is fine)

We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis as we receive them. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a writing exercise and phone interview. Finalists will be called for an in-person interview.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.

Department of Economics at MIT
Job Location: 
Cambridge, MA, USA
Known Job Application Deadline: