Thursday, October 1, 2015

Associate Director/Deputy Director - J-PAL South Asia (Apply by: October 24, 2015)


PROJECT TITLE: Payments and Governance Research Program

POSITION TITLE: Associate Director/Deputy Director (AD/DD)

LOCATION: New Delhi, with regular travel in India and occasional travel outside India


START DATE: At the earliest


EDUCATION: Master's, other advanced degrees


Organization/Mission Description

India is on the cusp of the most profound overhaul of its anti-poverty strategy in a generation. This effort,  based on universal bank accounts (Jan Dhan), biometric authentication (Aadhar), and mobile phones (the “JAM” platform), represents a transformational opportunity both to implement existing programs better and also to improve the design of anti-poverty programs with direct transfers in lieu of distortionary price subsidies.  It is a top priority for the Govt. of India at the highest levels, and described by the Chief Economic Adviser to the Govt. of India as “a quiet revolution of social welfare policy.” Yet there are also a number of challenges that could prevent the JAM platform from delivering its full potential, including implementation challenges, subversion by vested interests, exclusion errors, unexpected perverse consequences, and unknown cost-effectiveness.

The Payments and Governance Research Program will work closely with the Govt. of India to design policy reforms for various subsidy programs and conduct a series of rigorous experimental evaluations of the impact of rolling out these reforms. In addition, the program will create a system for generating high-frequency feedback on implementation performance directly from beneficiaries to top policy makers. Together, these methods represent global best practice in integrating high-quality research and evidence in policy-making. Besides contributing directly to policy formation, they will help to promote a culture of evidence-based decision-making at the heart of the Indian policymaking process.

The Payments and Governance Research Program is funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is housed in the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab SA (J-PAL SA), a regional office of J-PAL based at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR). J-PAL is globally headquartered within the Economics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), J-PAL SA is one five independent regional offices based around the world hosted at local universities. For more information on J-PAL SA, please see .

Role & Responsibilities
The primary function of the Associate/Deputy Director will be day-to-day management of the multi-site, multi-project program, playing a role analogous to a COO in an early stage company.   The AD/DD will report administratively to the Executive Director, J-PAL South Asia, and substantively to Principal Investigator, Prof. Karthik Muralidharan, while working closely with the other principal investigators, Paul Niehaus and Sandip Sukhtankar.

The Associate/Deputy Director will be responsible for the following:
  • Manage both research activities and the program monitoring of the implementation of DBT-related interventions themselves, adhering to timelines
  • Recruit, evaluate, and retain staff including Research/Project Managers and Associates, working within the J-PAL framework.
  • Manage communication and relationships with external stakeholders (e.g. Niti Aayog, line ministries, Gates Foundation             etc.)
  • Support and participate in meetings with senior government decision-makers
  • Participate in strategic decision-making on priority government initiatives for impact evaluation, stakeholder management, etc.
Desired Profile
  • Education: Advanced degree from a leading university.
  • Experience: Minimum of 7 years of relevant professional experience in managerial or technical positions, with focus in project formulation, design, implementation, evaluation and monitoring. Preference will be given to candidates with work experience in India or other South Asian countries. Should have a track record of exceptional performance and increasing responsibility within a high-performing organization.
  • Experience with both internal team management and external relationship management.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication.
  • Ability to give and receive completely frank feedback.
  • Strong data analysis and visualization skills are a plus.
  • Understanding/familiarity of the value of evidence for policy decisions demonstrated by professional or academic experience is a plus.
How to Apply

1.    Please submit the following documents in PDF format via email at with a copy to
  1. A cover letter clearly addressing your qualifications and experience for the various responsibilities listed above,
  2. Curriculum Vitae (Resume).
In the subject line please put your full name, first (given) name followed by last (family) name.  In the email body: Copy exactly the following position line: “ 101570: J-PAL SouthAsia, AD/DD, Payments and Governance Research Programme” Please do not include any text besides the position line(s) in the body of the e-mail. Adding extra text will interfere with the processing of your application.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.

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