JOE Listings (Job Openings for Economists)
August 1, 2014 - January 31, 2015
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Position Title/Short Description
Section: Full-Time Nonacademic
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, UNITED STATES
JEL Classification: A1 -- General Economics
Full Text of JOE Listing:
The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and invigorate civic life.
We are an independent nonprofit organization – the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.
Our work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Our projects encourage efficient, responsive governments – at the local, state, national and international levels – serving the best interests of the people. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.
With offices in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Brussels and London and staff in other regions of the United States as well as Australia, Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. We are a dynamic, rapidly evolving organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.
Government Performance (GP), an internal operating division of The Pew Charitable Trusts (PCT), identifies and advances effective policy approaches to critical issues. It researches emerging topics, develops data-driven reports, and highlights innovative approaches to complex problems. When the facts are clear, GP advocates for nonpartisan, pragmatic solutions.
GP operates major state and local level initiatives in public pensions, children’s dental health, intensive home visiting/parent mentoring for at-risk families, sentencing and corrections, cost-benefit analysis, state budgeting and tax expenditures, and election reform, among others. GP makes use of the basic tools required to help states and localities explore and advance effective policies, regardless of the issue: credible, timely, and user-friendly research; assessments of public support for change; strategic outreach and dissemination to ensure that good information is widely communicated to decision-makers, media, influential stakeholders, and the public; the capacity to bring together diverse perspectives and find common ground; and the ability to identify and apply approaches that have proven successful elsewhere.
Family Economic Stability Portfolio:
The American Family Economic Stability portfolio is a new initiative that will assess and, where warranted, promote non-partisan, evidence-based solutions to improve the financial health of the American family and the safety and transparency of consumer financial markets. The portfolio will explore a number of related issues that focus on families' ability to save for the future, borrow and manage their funds safely and wisely, and move up the economic ladder. Included in this portfolio of work is an extensive body of research that will explore the current financial condition of diverse families and the connection between financial capital--personal savings and other assets--and economic stability and mobility.
A significant body of research has documented that many Americans are struggling to build enough personal savings (beyond funds accumulated through Social Security or pensions) to meet basic expenses in retirement. In fact, the gap between what families save and what they will need for retirement is expected to grow over time. With the continuing decline of traditional pensions and planned and potential reductions to Social Security benefits in the future, it is likely that younger Americans will need to rely even more heavily on household savings.
This project will provide rigorous research to inform a series of policy discussions at the state and federal level about how to help families increase their private savings. The focus of this research will be on employer-based retirement programs, such as 401(k) plans, as most families accumulate the bulk of their retirement savings at work. Specifically, the project will provide highly credible, independent, nonpartisan research to address critical questions, including: significant factors that prevent employers from offering retirement plans or from implementing plan features that lead to greater savings; the impact of disclosure on plan fees; and how leading state and federal proposals to increase retirement savings would affect employers, workers and taxpayers. The project will also extensively engage influential policy makers, thought leaders, business organizations, and advocates in policy discussions that address these questions and work to identify policy solutions that could assist families in increasing their retirement savings.
The Officer, Research, Retirement Security will be based in Pew’s Washington DC office and will report to the Director, Retirement Security. This position is part of a small project team that works with Pew’s communications, fundraising and government relations staff as well as external consultants. The successful candidate will become an integral part of the project team, helping to lead its research and evaluation work.
It is expected that this position is for a term period through June 30, 2017, with the possibility of an extension pending the success of the program, funding sources and board decisions on continued support.
• Working with the project director, the research officer develops a targeted research agenda to be accomplished through a combination of in-house research and external contracts.
o Based on overall project goals, create and maintain prioritized list of research projects.
o Create project plans and enforce adherence to timelines.
o Outline limitations and advantages of various research approaches.
o Help identify and select external resources, such as consultants or academic collaborators, as well as external sources of data to acquire.
o Work with operations’ staff to execute research contracts. Evaluate proposals; oversee the contracting process; ensure that deliverables are met in a timely manner; maintain sound budgeting records; and work with operations staff to meet institutional requirements.
o Coordinate and manage relationships with contracted researchers, working closely with them to conceptualize, design, and review research that will answer key questions for the project.
• Conduct original research.
o Help develop sound analytical models for appropriately answering specific research questions.
o Execute research and analysis work directly.
o Delegate tasks to staff research associates or consultants as appropriate.
o Draft research findings and conclusions, translating complex and highly academic language into clear and compelling narratives for a public and policymaker audience.
o Coordinate with Pew colleagues and collaborators at other institutions.
• Ensure quality of research based on professional and Pew-specific standards.
o Coordinate Pew’s internal review of all research deliverables and work through any issues, comments and suggestions for editing and review of those products.
o Manage external peer review processes, as necessary, with assistance from quality assurance team.
• Communicate project developments to diverse audiences.
o Assist the project director and Pew’s communications staff in drafting external documents regarding the project’s research including issue papers, briefs, executive summaries, infographics, multi-media presentations, talking points and press releases.
o Represent the project publically at conferences and other external events, presenting and helping to disseminate the project’s research.
o Serve as a spokesperson to the media on project research, providing interviews for print, television, social media, and radio as opportunities arise.
o Assist project director with outreach to policy makers, industry representatives, advocates and other stakeholders.
• Acquire and maintain broad knowledge of retirement policy trends at the state and federal levels; track relevant demographic, employer, and financial services trends; follow emerging academic research; and ensure project team is notified of key developments in these areas.
• Perform other project-related duties as necessary, including within the Family Economic Stability Portfolio and throughout Pew.
• Assist the project director in managing and mentoring research staff as needed.
• Identify opportunities for research collaboration with other Pew projects.
• A bachelor’s degree is required, a Ph.D. graduate or a candidate for a Ph.D. in economics, sociology, public policy, or related social science discipline is preferred.
• A strong research focus and at least eight years of experience designing and conducting research projects aimed at informing and advancing effective public policy is required.
• Candidates with either public policy or industry/market research backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
• Excellent research and analytical skills.
o Demonstrated quantitative research experience, including significant participation in several substantial studies or reports.
o Experience with quantitative research software like Stata, R, or SPSS.
o Experience in developing and implementing survey methodology is a plus.
o Experience in both the collection of qualitative data, such as focus groups and semi-structured interviews, and analysis by using software packages such as NVivo and is a plus.
o Knowledge of experimental and quasi-experimental research methods a plus.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills, including ability to synthesize and summarize research findings and recommendations in a clear, effective manner is required.
• As an integral member of the project team, the research officer must have:
o Strong interpersonal skills, with ability to collaborate effectively with others from industry, academic, policy and advocacy backgrounds.
o Demonstrated time- and project-management skills, including the ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization.
o An ability to make decisions after contemplating various courses of action, justify recommendations with evidence or clear reasoning, and be responsive, clear and resolute when appropriate.
o An ability to juggle multiple priorities and adjust to changing circumstances while maintaining attention to details.
o The capacity to resolve problems creatively and logically.
o The ability to fit into the creative, fast-paced and highly professional corporate culture of Pew, which emphasizes teamwork while requiring a high level of personal excellence.
o Experience analyzing large, nationally-representative household surveys and datasets, such as the Health and Retirement Study, Survey of Consumer Finances, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, or the Current Population Survey, is preferred.
This position may involve periodic travel to conduct research projects, or attend conferences and meetings.
Pew is an equal opportunity employer.
To learn more about the organization review the complete job description and apply online at
- External Application Link