Research Fellowship for Projects on Taxation & Income Distribution in Lower Income Countries

Cambridge, MA

Research Fellowship for Projects on 
Taxation & Income Distribution in Lower Income Countries

Evidence for Policy Design at Harvard Kennedy School

About EPoD
Housed within the Center for International Development (CID), Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) is a dynamic research initiative that brings analytical insights, typically from economics, to the design and implementation of public policies and programs around the world. EPoD directly engages with governments and local organizations to identify key questions, design innovative new policies or interventions, and test these using the tools of applied microeconomics, including large field-based experiments. Current research topics at EPoD include governance, social protection, education, entrepreneurship, health, skills, state capacity, sustainable development, and access to finance.  Research projects are ongoing in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, China and Mexico.

About the Fellowship
Each year, EPoD accepts a number of research fellows to work closely with its faculty on specific research projects, with the next cohort beginning in the summer of 2020. Fellows are chosen from among the best and the brightest of future researchers in Economics and Public Policy and are exposed to cutting-edge topics and research methods in this area. Additionally, Fellows receive mentoring from faculty and access to a broad range of activities at the Harvard Kennedy School. Upon completion of the program, Fellows often go on to attend top-tier programs in Economics and Public Policy in pursuit of a PhD. Other Fellows use the time to explore their interests in evidence-based policy to pursue a non-academic path.  This project is supervised by Anders Jensen, Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School. We are looking to hire a full-time research fellow for 9 to 12-months starting in the summer of 2020. The position will be based at Harvard University in Cambridge.

Low- and middle-income countries are characterized by low tax revenue and low compliance. While their tax revenue has increased in the last decade, this has been principally fueled by higher consumption taxes, often considered to be regressive. In turn, this raises the questions of how the tax burden will be distributed across citizens of different incomes. This research agenda combines cross-country data on patterns of tax revenue, with country specific projects using administrative data and surveys in order to study how developing countries tax systems impact inequality.

The research fellow will interact frequently with us to help build datasets, do background research on relevant policy context and academic literature, conduct empirical analyses, synthesize results, edit academic papers, create presentations, and otherwise assist our work. The research fellow will access administrative data, work with us in person in Cambridge and interact with our coauthors. It may also prove necessary for the research fellow to travel at times to collect survey data and/or work with administrative data inside tax authorities of specific developing countries.

The fellowship can serve as excellent preparation for a PhD in economics, but those with a strong quantitative background and alternative professional interests are also encouraged to apply. Additional qualifications include:

  • Bachelor and/or Masters in Economics, Public Policy or related fields (advanced degree preferred)
  • Proficiency in STATA and prior experience in working with (large) datasets.
  • Knowledge of R is an asset.
  • Familiarity with the public finance and/or development literature
  • Interest in research and willingness to travel

How to Apply

  • Send an email to following these instructions:
    • In the subject line, put “Research Fellow – Jensen -- ” followed by your first and last name (e.g., “Research Fellow – Jensen -- Jane Doe”).
    • Attach the following documents:
      • Cover letter (one page max)
      • CV
      • Academic transcripts from all degrees received
  • Have two academic or professional references (academic preferred) submit letters of reference on your behalf to following these instructions:
    • In the subject line, put “Letter of Recommendation – “followed by your first and last name (e.g., “Letter of Recommendation – Jane Doe”).
    • Include the letter of recommendation as an attachment.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and will not be considered complete until all elements are received. Applicants chosen to move forward in the hiring process will be required to participate in multiple interviews and take a Stata exam.