Pre-Doctoral Fellowship--Opportunity Insights

Updated: 5 months ago
Location: Cambridge, MASSACHUSETTS


Title Pre-Doctoral Fellowship--Opportunity Insights
School Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Department/Area Opportunity Insights, Dept of Economics
Position Description

We are hiring several full-time pre-doctoral fellows to start in summer 2020 to work with our research group, Opportunity Insights. Our team’s mission is to develop scalable policy solutions that will empower families throughout the United States to rise out of poverty and achieve better life outcomes. We pursue this mission primarily by conducting rigorous, scientific research that harnesses the power of “big data” using an interdisciplinary approach. Much of the team’s ongoing research uses quasi-experimental methods to identify causal effects and test the predictions of economic and sociological models. Current projects study the long- term impacts of neighborhoods, the role of colleges as a pathway to upward mobility, how social networks may affect poverty, and the impacts of historical place-based policies on residents. Results from these projects have appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and have been widely cited in policy discussions, including the President’s State of the Union address.

The positions will be based at Harvard University under the direction of Professors Chetty, Friedman, and Hendren. The fellowship will include a variety of tasks that provide preparation for graduate school, such as analyzing data, developing statistical models, creating presentations, and editing research papers. In addition to working with faculty as research assistants, the pre-doctoral fellows frequently co-author papers with other students or faculty members. Fellows will interact regularly with professors and their collaborators – such as David Deming, Matthew Jackson, and Larry Katz – in a team-oriented lab environment, with weekly lab meetings, seminars, and other events. Fellows are also invited to participate in broader activities at Harvard, including seminars and courses. The program serves as an ideal bridge between college and graduate school for students interested in empirical economics. Most previous fellows have gone on to top Ph.D. programs. Salary will be competitive.

Basic Qualifications

As an organization focused on economic mobility, we value having a diverse research staff and particularly encourage applications from groups traditionally under-represented in Economics. Applicants should be completing (or have completed) a Bachelors or Master’s degree, have strong quantitative skills and experience with empirical research methods. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with programming experience in Stata, SAS, R, and/or Python. Candidates need not be Economics majors, though they should have a strong interest in and some experience with Economics. Successful candidates have come from a variety of backgrounds (including from undergraduate and graduate programs, industry jobs, and other research assistant positions), and have a range of skill levels and experience with coding.

Candidates would ideally begin around July 1, 2020 and work for us for two years before applying to graduate school in Economics or another social science.

Additional Qualifications

We will review applications, conduct interviews, and make offers in late February and early March. Our interview process includes a coding exercise, a first-round interview, and a final round interview. Applications are due on February 21, 2020 5pm ET. We expect to share decisions from the spring round by end of April.Questions can be directed to

Special Instructions

To apply, please:
1) Submit a formal application through this posting.
2) Fill out and upload your resume, cover letter, transcripts, and a writing sample through our group’s online form:
Please note that we require both Harvard and OI’s online form to be filled out in order to be considered.

Contact Information

Questions regarding details of the position can be directed to: Federico Gonzalez at

Contact Email
Equal Opportunity Employer

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law.

Minimum Number of References Required
Maximum Number of References Allowed

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