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The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) is seeking to recruit a full-time Research Professional to work with Oeindrila Dube, Professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.  The research professional would play an integral part on projects that tackle important research questions in development economics and political economy, answered through natural experiments using big data sources. The focus of these research projects include understanding the economic drivers of religiosity, identifying the cultural origins of gender inequality, and analyzing the role of social networks in economic development.

Datasets in these projects encompass terabytes of digital trace data from cell phone users as well as massive quantities of satellite and remote sensing data. Co-authors on these projects include Emily Breza (Department of Economics, Harvard), Joshua Blumenstock (School of Information, UC Berkeley) and Michael Callen (Department of Economics, LSE).

Selected candidates will join BFI’s Predoctoral Research in Economics Program (PREP). BFI PREP is intended to serve as a bridge between college and graduate school for students interested in empirical economics. Applicants must have completed a Bachelors degree by June 2024 and have strong quantitative and programming skills. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with experience in R and Python. The ideal candidate would begin no later than July 1, 2024 and work for BFI for one or two years before applying to graduate school in Economics or another quantitative social science. BFI offers competitive salary and employee benefits.

The position is for one year, with the possibility of renewing for a second year, based on assessments of mutual fit and performance.


We are looking for applicants who:

  • Will have a bachelor’s or master’s degree by summer 2024.
  • Have a sufficiently strong interest in pursuing a PhD (whether in economics, public policy, political science, data science, computer science, or other related field), and to invest in this interest during their fellowship.
  • Have training in econometric methods.
  • Are proficient with statistical analysis in Python and R. (Coding experience in Stata is a plus).
  • Have at least one year of relevant research experience. (Experience gained in school counts toward this requirement).
  • Are analytically minded, detail-oriented, great communicators and work well as team players.

We also encourage candidates to highlight experience and background in the following areas:

  • Familiarity with program evaluation methods and non-experimental methods for causal inference (e.g., difference-in-differences, event studies, regression discontinuity).
  • Experience coding in Python / R.
  • Experience creating data visualizations.
  • Experience with object-oriented programming and/or data engineering.
  • Experience efficiently processing large volumes of data.
  • Knowledge of git (e.g., add-commit-push-pull).

Required Documents:

  • Resume/CV
  • Writing sample
  • Transcripts (unofficial is ok)

The University of Chicago provides equal employment opportunities to all employees, applicants, and job seekers. No person shall be discriminated against in employment or harassed because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, marital status, parental status, ancestry, source of income, or other classes protected by law. This policy includes the commitment to maintaining a work environment free from unlawful harassment.