Our Focus

Founded in 2015, The University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab (formerly the Poverty Lab) conducts rigorous research that expands economic opportunity for those harmed by discrimination, disinvestment, and segregation. We partner with policymakers, community-based organizations and others to identify their most urgent and pressing challenges, co-generate evidence about what works, and translate findings into policy changes that end intergenerational poverty. One of five Urban Labs based at the Harris School of Public Policy, the Inclusive Economy Lab is led by Pritzker Director Marianne Bertrand, the Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics in the Booth School of Business.

The Inclusive Economy Lab studies programs and policies that aim to expand economic opportunity in order to understand how well they work. By identifying barriers to social mobility and racial equity and highlighting the programs and policies that have the most positive impact, our work creates greater economic opportunity in cities. We specialize in evaluating programs with the potential to improve lives in four main areas:

  • College and Career Success
  • Housing Stability
  • Financial Security
  • Quality Jobs

Our Values

Conduct science in service of citiesWe feel a sense of urgency to do research that improves people’s lives. We select projects that lead to solutions for policy, practice, and increased investments on the ground.  Our research is rigorous and informed by the historic and current contexts that shape urban residents’ lives.

Foster lasting relationshipsWe collaborate with policymakers, practitioners, and people with lived experience to understand multiple perspectives and figure out what works.

Elevate equity & inclusionWe aim to hire people with a range of personal and professional backgrounds, skillsets, and identities. We expand access to evaluation for a broad range of organizations and we conduct work that affirms the dignity of all people.

Check our privilegeWe recognize the power and privilege we have as members of the University of Chicago. We practice humility and recognize that expertise comes in many forms and there are limits to our own. 

Embrace a growth mindsetWe invest in our people and develop our skills and content knowledge together. We work respectfully as a team to achieve our shared goals

The Role

The Harris School of Public Policy is seeking a full-time Research Associate to provide scientific and intellectual leadership for the University of Chicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab. The Research Associate, in partnership with senior faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, will build and provide scientific direction for a portfolio of applied research projects in one of the following areas: housing stability, financial security, or quality jobs. This is a non-tenure track position. There are no teaching responsibilities. The appointment will be for an initial three-year, renewable appointment.  The anticipated start date for the position will be July 1, 2022.


  • Develop and direct a portfolio of applied research projects focused on housing stability, financial security, or quality jobs.
  • Manage and mentor research and project staff, providing scientific direction and ensuring the rigor and quality of all work.
  • Contribute to strategic conversations about which new projects and initiatives the Inclusive Economy Lab should take on.
  • Work collaboratively with practitioners and policy makers to develop and implement applied research projects.
  • Contribute to the scientific content of research proposals.
  • Disseminate research findings to both research and practitioner/policy maker audiences.
  • Serve as a member of the Inclusive Economy Lab’s leadership team.

Education, Experience, and Certifications:

  • Applicants must have a Ph.D. in public policy, economics, statistics, computer science, or other relevant field.
  • At least two years of experience leading applied research projects.
  • Preference will be given to those with proven experience working with interdisciplinary research teams and agency and community stakeholders.
  • Expertise in all aspects of the research design, methods, and evaluation of research projects in the area of labor economics/social policy required.
  • Expertise in machine learning preferred.
  • Interest in finding and testing innovative solutions to social problems.
  • Content expertise in housing stability, financial security, or quality jobs required.
  • Ability to engage thoughtfully with issues related to race, identity, and equity and work across difference required.
  • Demonstrated experience working with communities that have experienced segregation and disinvestment preferred.
  • First generation college students and those with lived experience in communities experiencing poverty and disinvestment are encouraged to apply.

Required Documents:

  • CV/resume
  • Cover letter
  • Writing sample
  • Research statement
  • Contact information for 3 references 

To apply for this position, candidates must submit their application and required materials through the University of Chicago’s Interfolio academic job board at: apply.interfolio.com/99380. Review of applications will begin on December 22, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled.


Application Instructions

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages diverse perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange. The University’s Statements on Diversity are at https://provost.uchicago.edu/statements-diversity.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University’s Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-1032 or email equalopportunity@uchicago.edu with their request.