Research Associate - CPRC (Part-time)

Research Department

Applications will be accepted from
February 5th through March 14th, 2014

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The Consumer Payments Research Center (CPRC) of the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is seeking a Ph.D. graduate student who might benefit from the opportunity to take an active role in economic research and policy analysis on household finance as part of our Research Assistant Program. We are seeking students with strong theoretical and econometric training and experience plus research interests in one or more relevant fields (below). The graduate research associate will work closely with the CPRC’s team of economists, statisticians, survey methodologists, analysts and other research assistants. Work assignments include planning and conducting research and policy work using the CPRC’s annual Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC), the new Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, and other related data. Opportunities may be available to develop new surveys and experiments as well. Research conducted during this assistantship may be used for the candidate’s dissertation requirements.

The graduate research associate position is available starting in the summer of 2014 and is part-time (20 hours per week, flexible schedule). It requires a commitment of one year, but two or more years are preferred. The ideal candidate will have completed two years of graduate study in economics or statistics and be working on a doctoral dissertation, preferably on a subject related to the mission and purpose of the CPRC and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Principal Responsibilities

The graduate research assistant is expected to perform two tasks: 1) complete assignments related to the analysis and development of CPRC data products; and 2) contribute to high-quality research papers for the Boston Fed’s publications and acceptance in professional journals. Research developed and conducted by the graduate research assistant may be used as part of a doctoral dissertation, and the assistant will have full access to unpublished and proprietary CPRC data. Research on the economics of consumer payment choice will complement, extend, or expand the CPRC’s prior research publications. Research on data production may include testing the design and implementation of survey questionnaires, designing and evaluating sampling methodologies, evaluating the success of economic measurement, and developing procedures for data analysis and imputation.

The candidate also will be encouraged to develop self-directed research topics that have clear spillover benefits to the CPRC research and policy program.

Knowledge and Experience

We are seeking a self-motivated individual with demonstrated analytical and quantitative skills. Specifically, applicants should:

  • Possess an excellent academic record with extensive coursework and experience in the theoretical and applied econometrics and/or statistics.
  • Have research interests in one or more of the following fields: household finance, applied microeconomics, industrial organization, monetary economics, public finance, technology, and/or related disciplines in social sciences or business.
  • Show evidence or promise of strong research and publication skills.
  • Have proficiency with one or more standard econometric or statistical package such as STATA, MATLAB, SAS, R, or related software.
  • Be trained and experienced with developing, solving, and simulating structural economic models.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work independently on research within strict time constraints.
  • Have strong analytical, written, and oral communication skills.
  • Have experience developing and implementing surveys and random sampling (helpful but not required).

Application Information

  • Cover letter. Cover letters should be addressed to Randi Cavanaugh, Recruiting Coordinator. It should describe your reasons for being interested in the position, including how a research assistant position at the Fed is relevant to your career aspirations, as well as particular qualities or skills that make you a good candidate. Please also specify any areas of special interest in economics.
  • Résumé. Résumés should include all education information, including institutions attended and areas of concentration, overall undergraduate GPA as well as GPA in your major, graduate GPA (if applicable), computer skills, and relevant work experience. Your résumé should also include at least one reference.
  • Writing sample. Your writing sample should be 5-10 pages, preferably on an economic topic and should include technical content. Writing samples might include papers from undergraduate economics classes or a thesis. Excerpts from longer pieces are acceptable.
  • Transcript. While we prefer official transcripts, we will accept unofficial transcripts from each college or university attended as part of your application. If you become a finalist for a position we will ask that you submit an official transcript.
  • Recommendation Letters. Two letters of recommendation are required. Letter may be emailed to Randi Cavanaugh at

Reminder, applications will be accepted starting February 5th until March 14th, 2014 and only via the website. Please do not email application materials. Thank you.