UPDATED Sept 20
Do not apply to any position that is marked “filled” in the list below.
The following faculty members and PhD students are looking for research assistants this semester. All of these positions are for credit. Students registered for GU4996 will receive either 1 or 2 college credits and be charged for 1 – 2 credits (relevant only to students who pay by the credit). To participate in a faculty research project at no cost, GS students have the option of registering for GU4995 for 1 credit for which they will not be billed. In both cases, students will receive a letter grade on their transcript indicating that they worked as an RA. However, in the case of GU 4995, the 1 credit may not be used to fulfill the minimum credit limit of a Columbia degree. Research positions typically entail 5-7 hours of work per week. Research credit may not be used as a substitute for elective or seminar requirements in the major.
If interested in a position, please contact the researcher directly at the email address provided. If you are selected as the RA then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When contacting the researcher regarding a position, you should include a copy of your Columbia transcript (unofficial is ok) and a CV/resume. Additional opportunities may be announced next week.
Belinda Archibong (Professor/Barnard) is looking for assistants to work on two projects.
1. “Colonialists, Taxation and Punishment: Prisons and Labor Coercion in British Colonial West Africa”: We use historical datasets and exploit exogenous changes in commodity prices and labor tax and forced labor regulation from 1914 through 1940 to examine the relationship between labor coercion, colonial fiscal capacity and associated public works expenditures in British colonial West Africa.
Skills needed: Familiarity with Excel is needed. The project requires careful data entry skills and the ability to do basic exploratory data analysis
2. “Firm Culture: Examining the Role of Ethnicity in Hiring Using Evidence from Nigeria”: Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with 60\% of its population below the age of 25 by UN estimates. At the same time, youth unemployment is above 40\% in many countries. While a large literature links ethnic bias to inefficient economic outcomes across a range of contexts in Africa, we have limited understanding of its contribution to frictions in labor markets. We tackle two issues concurrently: high unemployment rates among youth and ethnic bias. Using an online job platform in Nigeria, we study ethnic bias in firm hiring with an audit study and a novel firm and applicant dataset.
Skills needed: Familiarity with Excel is needed. Familiarity with R or Stata is preferred. The project requires careful data entry skills and the ability to do basic exploratory data and statistical analysis.
This Position is Filled – Do Not Apply David Weinstein (Professor) is looking for assistance with two projects.
The first is on measuring the gains and price impacts of e-commerce in Japan. The RA will have to work on cleaning a dataset of regional prices in Japan. The objective of this research is to understand how the entry of e-commerce firms affected pricing in physical stores as well as welfare.
The second project aims understanding the role played by information in Japanese economic development. When Japan opened to international trade in the mid-nineteenth century, it began importing large numbers of books. The project will involve building a dataset on book acquisitions by the National Diet Library to understand how technology flowed into Japan. The student will have to download acquisition information from the web and build a dataset documenting which countries supplied books to Japan and the general subject matter of these books.
NEW Yeji Sung (PhD Student) is looking for assistance for a project on macroeconomic expectations. She studies how people (both families and businesses) form expectations about future macroeconomic conditions and how such expectations affect the decision to consume, save, and invest. The RA will be asked to read related papers and clean data sets.
Motaz Al-Chanati (PhD student) is looking for an RA for a project to study the impact of pharmaceutical advertising on physician and patient behavior. The first part of the project will involve working with transaction-level data that details payments from pharmaceutical firms to doctors. This is an extremely large dataset consisting of over 50 million records and representing $33 billion in payments. The tasks expected are to clean the dataset, produce data visualization, and analyze patterns across firms/doctors/locations etc. The RA will likely need to do additional research and data collection about pharmaceutical firms and products, so an interest in the healthcare industry may be helpful. Future work on this project can potentially be tailored to the RA’s interest (e.g. structural model estimation, applications of machine learning). This position would be a good fit for someone looking to get hands-on experience with data, especially learning how to process and manage large datasets, as well as those interested in applied micro research or data science. Experience with Python is necessary, while experience with Stata, SQL or GIS software is a plus.
Qingmin Liu (Professor) is looking for someone to assist with the preparation of teaching materials and to conduct literature reviews. The RA must either know or be willing to learn one of the latex-based typesetting programs (TeXworks, scientific workplace/word, etc).
This Position is Filled – Do Not Apply – Lena Edlund (Professor) is looking for help analyzing special data on crime. Her assistant must have proficiency manipulating large data sets in STATA. Contact: email@example.com
Seyhan Erden (Lecturer) is looking for an assistant who is familiar with Dynamic Causal Effects models and is fluent in STATA and R to work on several projects. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suresh Naidu (Professor) is looking for two RAs to help process text files and linking company names, as well as, organizing a conference for next year. The RAs must have a working knowledge of excel.
This Position is Filled – Do Not Apply Jack Willis (Professor) is looking for assistance with a project that is about convergence, broadly perceived. He and his co-authors have documented some new facts about cross-country convergence in GDP per capita, and now are investigating convergence in institutions and culture.
Most likely the RA would use publicly available survey data, such as the World Value Survey and the IPUMs census microdata, to analyze the patterns of convergence within and across countries. The student would need to be comfortable doing basic data manipulation and running simple regressions in Stata. The project is with Michael Kremer and a grad student at Harvard.
David Alfaro Serrano (PhD student) is looking for an RA to work on a project on the effect of innovation subsidies for companies in Peru. The tasks will be mainly related with downloading, copying and organizing publicly available information about a sample of approximately 700 firms. The job will provide hands-on experience on data gathering and processing, valuable skills in academic research and consultancy.
The job requires basic knowledge of Spanish (enough to read website menus and table headings) and good knowledge of Excel. Knowledge of web scraping methods is a plus (although it is not required).
If interested, send him your CV, and a paragraph indicating your motivation and academic interests to email@example.com. Please use the subject line “URA – [Your name]”.
Cameron LaPoint (PhD student) is looking for an RA to work with him and his co-author on a project titled “Splitting the Nest Egg: The Optimal Frequency of Pension Payments”. They are looking for an RA to assist with collecting data on public pension systems around the world, with a focus on OECD member countries. The key tasks involve collecting information on Social Security expenditures, administrative operating costs, and payment schedules from annual government reports and compiling these data into a format that allows for cross-country comparisons. A working knowledge of Stata and foreign language skills are a plus, but are not requirements.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Duarte Goncalves (PhD student) is working on a project to explain how individuals form beliefs about how others act in strategic settings. He is seeking a motivated candidate to assist in data collection by compiling existing experimental data. The goal is to use this data to test an economic model of choice in games where beliefs are biased. Knowledge of economics and data analysis are relevant skills. The RA will be able to learn about recent advances in Game Theory and Behavioral Economics and develop general research skills in a supervised environment while exposed to the research frontier in Economics. The required skills are knowledge of Interm Microecon (UN3211) (very important), and though not required, familiarity with at least one of the following would be a plus: Game Theory (GU4415), Advanced Microecon (GU4211) or Behavioral Econ (GU4840). Exposure to econometrics, data analysis software and/or coding would also be a plus.
This Position is Filled – Do Not Apply – Silvio Ravaioli (PhD student) is looking for an RA for a project about information acquisition and belief polarization. He is designing a lab experiment to record and analyze the information gathering process that foregoes a financial decision. This would be a good RA-ship for students interested in behavioral and experimental economics. The work will involve reviewing the relevant literature, preparing and testing the experimental paradigm. Applicants with coding skills (e.g. Matlab) will receive priority and will perform simple analysis on pilot data.
Bhargav Gopal (PhD student) is looking to collaborate with an undergraduate student looking to gain experience in building a project from the ground level. He is exploring two ideas. The first is the effect of non-compete clauses on worker mobility, productivity, and wages. It has been argued that Silicon Valley’s growth has partly been driven by California courts failing to enforce non-compete clauses, and I’d like to investigate if the data backs up this claim. The second project involves crime, and researching whether state level policies designed to reduce crime in one state results in increased crime in neighboring states. Tasks will include reviewing relevant literature in the field, so strong reading skills is a positive. Furthermore, we would also need to collect and analyze data pertaining to the research questions, so statistical programming skills (preferably in R) are also very useful.
Nathaniel Mark (PhD student) is looking for a student interested in health economics and health policy. The RA would help with policy research, data collection, and data cleaning on a project that investigates how health clinics respond to incentives. He would prefer a student who has some research experience (not necessarily in economics) and is familiar with R and LaTeX. However, neither of these skills are requisite — motivation is more important.
Preferred Job Skills:
1. Ability to use common academic databases and properly organize annotated bibliographies.
2. Ability to communicate with government agencies to attain information via phone and email.
3. Familiarity with or willingness to learn R and/or LaTeX.
Lan Nguyen (PhD student) is looking for an undergraduate RA for 2 projects on education: one on college students in Vietnam and one on NYC (specialized) high schools. The share of work coming from each project may vary. Both projects will involve cleaning and merging data. For the NYC project, working with geographical data is also expected. Prior knowledge of a programming language (Python, R or Stata) is preferred (but not required).
This Position is Filled – Do Not Apply Divya Singh (PhD student) is looking for an RA to work on a project in India that analyzes the effect of taxes (Value added taxes) on firms in India. The RA would be required to do some descriptive statistics, in addition to some basic data analysis. The skills required are STATA knowledge.
Vinayak Iyer (PhD student) is looking for assistance with 3 projects:
1) empirical relationship between population of a geographic region and “size of the regional government”. The tasks would be to collect data on various measures of government size (expenditure, employment) and use software like R, Python or STATA to plot some graphs. A literature review on Zipf’s law and empirically estimating it might also be required.
2) price discrimination in rental markets in New York City. The tasks would be to do a literature survey about business rental markets in NY and searching and downloading data based on links and resources that he will provide.
3) empirically estimating a multi-tasking moral hazard model for politicians in Canada. The tasks will be to check code that I have written/will write in Python/MATLAB/STATA for errors. Secondly, some help might also be needed to scrape/download data about demographic characteristics about Canadian politicians.
The student must have interest in any one of these topics and have some programming experience in at least one of Python/R/STATA.
Contact: email@example.com .
Lorenzo Lagos (PhD student) is looking for an RA to assist on a project studying the impact of collective bargaining agreements on labor market outcomes in Brazil. He is looking for a motivated undergraduate student who speaks Portuguese fluently to help in a variety of tasks, including reviewing legal cases on union disputes and classifying worker occupations from free text. The selected candidate should expect 5-7 hours of work per week during which he/she will develop highly-valued skills, e.g., summarizing key points from a vast literature, natural language text processing, etc.
This Position is Filled – Do Not Apply – Pablo Ernesto Warnes (PhD student) is studying the effects of advertising on the demand for products by relying on a combination of very detailed data on advertising expenditure at the brand level, and a very rich dataset on purchases of retail goods at the barcode level.
No prior knowledge is required for this job, as long as you have a basic understanding of causal identification strategies in econometrics, and a desire to learn how to do empirical work with large amounts of data. A working knowledge of either Python, R, or Stata would be preferred, but this could also be learned on the job.