J-PAL Africa seeks a Cape Town-based Research Associate to manage a project that will answer questions related to the impact of subsidised utility services on poor households, and optimal designs for such programs.
The project is led by Kelsey Jack (Associate Professor, University of California Santa Barbara) and Anja Sautmann (Director of Research, Education, and Training, J-PAL).
Subsidised services are a popular component of support to poor households in many countries, partly because as they are easy to administer.
In South Africa, the Free Basic Electricity (FBE) program provides poor households with some free electricity every month.
Its low-cost delivery mechanism has been enabled by near-universal electricity metering and reliable data on past consumption.
However, subsidisation also raises many questions about how to best target poor households and choose the best mode of delivery.
The City of Cape Town is considering increasing its FBE allowance to poor households. Our team of researchers are working closely with the electricity department and the economic research division in the City of Cape Town to design a randomised evaluation to measure the impact of this policy change.
In helping them design a rigorous evaluation, we hope to learn more about how to design policies to effectively target the poor, whether providing domain-
specific aid distorts consumption patterns, whether transfers should be in cash or in-kind, and the optimal size of such transfers.
The position will be based at J-PAL Africa, the Africa hub of J-PAL Global, located at the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) in the University of Cape Town, School of Economics.
This is a six month contract with an opportunity to renew.
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) consists of a global network of academics who specialise in conducting randomised evaluations of social policies / programmes in order to generate scientific evidence about what works in the fight against poverty.
J-PAL’s research associates work closely with these leading academics and partner organisations (often NGOs and governments) to design and implement these studies.
The Research Associate will be expected to lead the implementation of the pilot study, closely working with the Research Manager, Principal Investigators, staff from the City of Cape Town, and other members of the J-
PAL team to oversee the implementation of the research study. This role provides an excellent opportunity to work at the frontier of rigorous research and evidence-
based policymaking, contributing to knowledge that can improve the lives of citizens across Africa and beyond.
Responsibilities include :
Supporting funding proposals for full study.
Working closely with Principal Investigators to analyse data for needs assessments, study design or computation of results (in Stata and / or R).
Candidates with a bachelor degree who have MITx Micromasters in Data, Economics and Development Policy are also welcome to apply.