Pre-Doctoral Research Opportunities

All positions below remain open and actively reviewing applications on a rolling basis.

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) works with the Chicago Economics community to turn its evidence-based research into real-world impact. BFI takes a unique approach to bridging the divide between academic researchers and decision-makers in the business community and government by translating and packaging the rigorous work of the Chicago Economics community into accessible formats, and proactively sharing those findings with relevant decision-makers and thought leaders around the globe. BFI is a collaborative platform serving the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School.

Please direct questions about any open positions to bfipredoc@uchicago.edu

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  • EXPECTED START DATE: JULY 1, 2024
    Spring Cycle: Research Professional
    Oeindrila Dube, Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Harris Public Policy; Director of BFI Initiative for the Study of Gender in the Economy

    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.

    Qualifications

    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.

  • EXPECTED START DATE: JULY 1, 2024
    Spring Cycle: Research Professional
    Rachel Glennerster, Associate Professor, Division of the Social Sciences and the College; Anne Karing, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Economics, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics

    Reporting to Professors Anne Karing and Rachel Glennerster, and Postdoctoral Scholar Samantha Horn the Research Professional will assist with development and behavioral economics research projects in health. Their research focuses on studying the economics of health delivery and behaviors in low-income countries, and evaluates the impact of policies and interventions that increase preventative health-seeking behaviors. It uses a combination of methods including field experiments, lab-in-the-field experiments, and quasi-experiments, using both survey and administrative data.

    The Research Professional will primarily conduct statistical analyses and draft reports and presentations of research findings. They might also contribute to the design and implementation of field experiments. The project the Research Professional will primarily work on is an experiment designed to evaluate the efficacy of two approaches to tackling health misinformation in Freetown, Sierra Leone: i) a training to identify misinformation; and ii) a training on vaccine literacy. The RP will be tasked with cleaning data captured from participants’ WhatsApp messaging and analyzing the effects of the interventions on participants’ information sharing behavior on WhatsApp. They will be responsible for liaising with the team based in Sierra Leone to correct and interpret data, discussing the results of analyses with the PI team, and supporting the PI team in publishing the findings from the study.

    The ideal candidate is someone with a strong interest in furthering their applied econometrics and economic skills, and who is passionate about development economics and/or health or social media topics. The Research Professional will be part of the vibrant research environment of the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics at The University of Chicago.

    BFI’s Predoctoral Research in Economics Program (PREP) is intended to serve as a bridge between college and graduate school for students interested in empirical economics. Applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree by June 2024 and have strong quantitative and programming skills. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with experience in Stata, R, Python or Matlab.

    Responsibilities:

    • Data cleaning and analysis.
    • Writes or finalizes replicable do files or scripts for publication.
    • Ensures compliance of research activities with institutional, state, and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives, and mandates. Analyzes possible solutions using standard procedures.
    • Assists with writing data analysis plans and contributes to preparing study registration documents.
    • Supports the implementation of field experiments including supporting the design and implementation of surveys, and monitoring the quality of data collected, when needed.
    • Supports with writing of grant and policy reports, and assists with drafting presentations of research findings.
    • Analyzes and maintains data and/or specimens. Conducts literature reviews. Assists with preparation of reports, manuscripts and other documents.
    • Maintains technical and administrative support for a research project.
    • Performs other related work as needed.

    Preferred Qualifications: 

    Education

    • A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in economics, public policy, or a related field by start date.
    • Took econometrics classes at the bachelor or master’s level.

    Experience

    • Experience working as a Research Assistant or Data Analyst preferred.
    • Experience analyzing large data sets, applying econometrics methods.
    • Experience with natural language processing and knowledge of Python is strongly preferred.
    • Familiarity with field experiments.
    • Experience using machine learning techniques in data analysis is preferred.

    Preferred Competencies:

    • Strong interest in development economics and/or behavioral economics.
    • The ideal candidate will be a self-starter who thrives working both independently, with minimal supervision, and as a part of small research teams, participating in multiple projects concurrently.
    • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to produce clear and compelling written materials geared towards technical and non-technical audiences.
    • Ability to prioritize effectively to meet tight deadlines in a fast-paced working environment.
    • Excellent organizational skills and high attention to detail.

    Technical Skills: 

    • Knowledge of statistical analysis packages such as Python (preferred), R, or Stata.

    Required Documents:

    • Resume/CV (required)
    • Transcripts (required)
    • Writing sample (optional)
    • Math SAT/ACT (optional)

     About the Unit:

    The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) works with the Chicago Economics community to turn its evidence-based research into real-world impact. BFI takes a unique approach to bridging the divide between academic researchers and decision-makers in the business community and government by translating and packaging the rigorous work of the Chicago Economics community into accessible formats, and proactively sharing those findings with relevant decision-makers and thought leaders around the globe. BFI is a collaborative platform serving the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School. For more information visit https://bfi.uchicago.edu and https://bfi.uchicago.edu/info-for/prep  .

    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.

  • Health Economics Initiative · EXPECTED START DATE: JULY 1, 2024
    Spring Cycle: Research Professional
    Joshua Gottlieb, Professor, Harris Public Policy; Co-Director of BFI Health Economics Initiative; Zarek Brot-Goldberg, Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy; Matthew J. Notowidigdo, David McDaniel Keller Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business; Co-Director of BFI Health Economics Initiative

    The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) is seeking to hire a full-time Research Professional to work with Professor Joshua Gottlieb, Harris School of Public Policy, Co-Director of BFI’s Health Economics Initiative, and Professor Matt Notowidigdo, David McDaniel Keller Professor of Economics and Business and Public Policy Fellow, Professor Zarek Brot-Goldberg, Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, and Professor Maggie Shi, Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy,, and their students and coauthors.  The Research Professional will be involved in all stages of ongoing and new research projects related to health and urban economics.  Their current research can be viewed at the BFI website.  Previous RPs working for the Health INitiative have gone on to PhD programs at Stanford, Yale, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern, and become co-authors on projects commenced during their tenure as RPs.

    Successful candidates will work directly with Professors Gottlieb, Notowidigdo, Brot-Goldberg, and Shi, and co-authors as part of BFI’s Predoctoral Research in Economics Program (PREP). The program is intended to serve as a bridge between college and graduate school for students interested in empirical economics. Applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree by June 2024 and have strong quantitative and programming skills. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with experience in Stata, R, and/or Python. The ideal candidate would begin on July 1, 2024 (flexible) and work for BFI for two years before applying to graduate school in Economics or another quantitative social science. BFI offers competitive salary and employee benefits.

    Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.

     Unit-specific Responsibilities:

    • Write programs in Stata, R, and/or Python to analyze large datasets
    • Code economic models in Julia
    • Construct maps, figures, and tables for economics papers
    • Identify new data sources
    • Editing tasks
    • Other duties as assigned.

     Unit-preferred Competencies:

    • Desired (but not required) skills include advanced familiarity with numerical optimization and package development in Stata, R, Python, and/or Julia, and the ability to use Stata to manage and analyze large datasets. Although previous experience with any specific language is not essential, familiarity with at least one scripting language is encouraged.
    • Ability to work independently and manage multiple projects simultaneously
    • Excellent organizational skills
    • Attention to detail
    • Strong academic writing/communication skills

     

    Preferred Qualifications:

    Education

    • Bachelor’s degree in economics, computer science, physics, engineering, or other quantitative STEM fields is highly desirable.

    Experience

    • Relevant research experience as a research assistant.

    Technical Knowledge/Skills

    • Knowledge of R, Python, Stata preferred

    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.

  • Socieconomic Inequalities Initiative · EXPECTED START DATE: JULY 1, 2024
    Spring Cycle: Research Professional
    Damon Jones, Associate Professor, Harris Public Policy

    The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) works with the Chicago Economics community to turn its evidence-based research into real-world impact. BFI takes a unique approach to bridging the divide between academic researchers and decision-makers in the business community and government by translating and packaging the rigorous work of the Chicago Economics community into accessible formats, and proactively sharing those findings with relevant decision-makers and thought leaders around the globe. BFI is a collaborative platform serving the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School.

    Job Summary:

    The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) is seeking to hire a full-time Research Professional to work with Damon Jones, Associate Professor. Successful candidates will work directly with Prof. Jones and co-authors as a part of Socieconomic Inequalities Initiative and BFI’s Predoctoral Research in Economics Program (PREP). Professor Jones conducts research at the intersection of three fields: public finance, household finance, and labor economics. The position entails collaboration on new and ongoing research on inequality in health care access, guaranteed income programs, labor markets and racial equity. Part of the job entails working with administrative data sets and implementing and analyzing large-scale randomized controlled trials. This is a unique opportunity to learn how to work with such data and methods.  

    The program 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 Stata, R, Python or Matlab. The ideal candidate would begin on 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. 

    Unit-Specific Responsibilities

    • Write programs in Stata, R, Python to analyze large datasets
    • Construct maps, figures, and tables for economics papers
    • Identify new data sources
    • Conduct literature reviews
    • Editing tasks
    • Other duties as assigned

    Unit-preferred Competencies

    • Desired (but not required) skills include advanced familiarity with numerical optimization and package development in R and/or Python, and the ability to use Stata to manage and analyze large datasets. Although previous experience with any specific language is not essential, familiarity with at least one scripting language is encouraged.
    • Ability to work independently and manage multiple projects simultaneously
    • Excellent organizational skills
    • Attention to detail
    • Strong academic writing/communication skills

    Preferred Qualifications:

    Education

    • Bachelor’s degree in economics, computer sciences, engineering, or related STEM fields is highly desirable.

    Experience

    • Relevant research experience as a research assistant.

    Technical Knowledge/Skills

    • Knowledge of R and/or Python preferred
    • Knowledge of STATA preferred

    Application Documents

    • Resume/CV (required)
    • Cover Letter (required)
    • Transcripts (unofficial is acceptable) (required)
    • Two Professional References (required)

     

    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.

  • EXPECTED START DATE: JULY 2024
    Spring Cycle: Research Professional
    John List, Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics; Director of the Chicago Experiments Initiative

    The Research Professional for Chicago Experiments collaborates on new and ongoing research projects with a focus on, but not limited to, the implementation and empirical analysis of field experiments and observational/administrative data. Specifically, the Research Professional is involved in advanced empirical work on labor economics, education/human capital, discrimination, behavioral economics, and other topics within applied microeconomics.

    The Research Professional is part of the vibrant research environment at The University of Chicago and may attend and participate in seminars and workshops in preparation for a successful academic career.

    Past Research Professionals have received admission offers from top PhD programs including Maryland, NYU, Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, UPenn, Yale, among others.

    This position requires a commitment of at least two years.

    Applications will be reviewed from mid-October on a rolling basis. Only successful candidates will be contacted for a data task.

    Responsibilities:

    • Collects, cleans, manipulates, and analyzes experimental datasets
    • Contributes to writing, proofreading, and fact-checking papers and presentations
    • Implements experiments, conducts data analysis, and modifies existing codes to provide robustness of test results
    • Ensures compliance with institutional, state and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives, and mandates.

    Competencies:

    • Analytical skills required.
    • Attention to detail required.
    • Verbal and written communication skills required.
    • Ability to work independently and as part of a team required.

    Education, Experience, and Certifications:

    • Bachelor’s degree required.

    Required Documents:

    • Cover Letter
    • CV
    • Transcript (unofficial)
    • Most advanced writing sample in economics (if available)

     About the Unit:

    The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) works with the Chicago Economics community to turn its evidence-based research into real-world impact. BFI takes a unique approach to bridging the divide between academic researchers and decision-makers in the business community and government by translating and packaging the rigorous work of the Chicago Economics community into accessible formats, and proactively sharing those findings with relevant decision-makers and thought leaders around the globe. BFI is a collaborative platform serving the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School. For more information visit https://bfi.uchicago.edu