The lab actively builds research infrastructure. This includes methodological work on survey design, data depository, electronic data collection tools, application development for staff management and behavior modification, and big data tools/servers.
In addition to the the opportunities below, the China research cluster hosts visiting scholars and offers travel grants. Explore opportunities offered through the China cluster by visiting the China Cluster page.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
International Development Evidence Database Research Assistantships
The Global Poverty Research Lab (GPRL) is hiring several undergraduate Research Assistants (URAs) to help create a database of evidence in international development.
URAs will learn how to read academic papers efficiently, to identify fault lines in design and analysis, and will gain expertise in judging the strengths and weaknesses of academic work, specifically in the field of development economics. URAs will codify papers using a custom-made coding tool. This will involve the following tasks: coding information about research design and treatment effects, interacting with supervisors to clarify questions and improve as a coder, and engaging in weekly office hours. This role requires the URA to commit about 12-15 hours per week (adjustments can be made during exam times).
URAs will benefit from ample supervisor time and feedback on their work and will be part of an exciting project that promises to make an important contribution to both policy making and research. Candidates should be proficient at reading empirical academic papers with quantitative analysis, identifying research designs and main findings, and interpreting common statistical analyses. (The coding referred to here is not related to programming in Stata, R, Python, etc.) Candidates with a clear desire to further develop these skills will be preferred.
If you are interested in this position, please contact Andre Nickow (email@example.com). Please include a resume/CV, unofficial transcript, and a brief statement of about five sentences about your experience with academic work in international development.
General Undergraduate Research Assistants
The Global Poverty Research Lab hires a select number of undergraduate research assistants during the academic year. These are part-time paid positions. Undergrad RAs help with basic data clean-up, analysis, and other data-related tasks. To be eligible students should be enrolled at Northwestern, possess technical skills in statistics, econometrics, and Stata, and have some knowledge and interest in development economics or applied economics. Openings are usually posted in Econ Lab. If you are interested in being an undergrad RA email Poverty-Research@Northwestern.edu
Recent Undergrad RAs on their experience working for GPRL:
John Ma works on the Ghana Socioeconomic Panel Survey Mapping Project which works to integrate socioeconomic and geographical data from the Ghana Panel Survey and analyze spatial patterns of households and communities in Ghana. He mainly works on cleaning and analyzing the household and community level data from the survey.
“I really enjoy working to analyze and understand the Ghana Panel Survey in the Lab. I have learned a great deal about statistical programming and development economics by working with Professor Udry, Andre, and my teammates. My RA experience has definitely made me more capable of conducting data analysis and more determined to pursue economics research in the future.”
Adrian Lafont-Mueller (Class of 2020) assisted with the launch of a new panel survey in the Philippines. While working on this project he compiled information from surveys that the Philippine government operates, statistics that they publish, and data about the regions of focus for this survey (Panay and Negros Occidental) in order to understand what the conditions are like there.
“Working at the GPRL has been a very formative experience of my undergraduate career. Besides greatly improving my technical skills and exploring how the economics I’ve learned in the classroom is applied in the real world, the work environment has been supportive and flexible in giving me projects that I’m genuinely interested in. This was super helpful in leading me to a career path I’m genuinely passionate about and excited to continue working in.”
Study abroad in Ghana: The Department of Economics and the Global Poverty Research Lab offer a study abroad opportunity for Northwestern undergraduates at the University of Ghana – Legon each fall quarter. What makes this opportunity unique is that students will be matched with a University of Ghana faculty member in order to conduct independent research on a project involving economic development.
2023 Application deadline: February 10th, 2023
Application Information: NU Global Learning Website- Ghana Study Abroad
Zachary, Class of 2020, Economics, recently completed the internship opportunity in Ghana and says this about his time there:
"It was an amazing experience to learn more about Ghana through researching with a distinguished professor at one of the best universities in Africa. The things I learned regarding the research process have helped me in interviews more than I ever would have imagined. Try to be as involved with the data collection/cleaning process as much as possible."
We provide general research support to researchers (Northwestern faculty and students) wanting to conduct development research, in particular, but not exclusively fieldwork and randomized trials.
Graduate students can get involved with development economics throughout the year in two ways: