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Full-Time Research Assistant, Center for Economic and Social Research, USC

Oct 8 2016

Posted In:

Job Postings, Research Opportunities

This full-time research assistant position, working with Economics professor Dan Benjamin (University of Southern California’s Center for Economic and Social Research) and his co-authors, will be starting in the summer of 2017, and is ideal for individuals who are interested in behavioral economics research and are likely to pursue a PhD in economics.

Current projects include identifying genetic variants associated with educational attainment, conducting surveys to shed light on what respondents mean when they answer questions about their own happiness, and developing theory and running experiments to understand people’s biased beliefs about random processes. For examples of past research, see


Research assistants are directly involved in the entire research process, including:
• Data analysis (Stata knowledge required, MATLAB knowledge a plus)
• Grant writing
• Experiment design and execution (including tasks such as assisting with formulating hypotheses to be tested; writing procedure documents for experiments; coordinating the location of and staff for experiments; managing participants’ payments, etc.)
• Survey design and execution (including writing survey questions, testing website designs, liaising with market research firms, etc.)
• Background research and literature reviews for experiment/survey design and paper writing
• Data compiling and presentation (including designing figures for papers, paper editing, and the potential for small writing assignments, such as blog posts or data reports)
• Various administrative tasks central to the research process (including IRB applications, coordination of team activities, creation of efficient systems of management, etc.)

Required background:
• Knowledge of Stata, Excel
• Strong organizational and self-disciplinary skills
• A background in economics (undergraduate degree or at least 3 years of relevant experience)
• Leadership skills
• An interest in behavioral economics specifically
• Strong writing skills

Optional background:
• Knowledge of MATLAB and Latex
• Knowledge of various statistical analyses such as OLS, MLE, and PCA


Salary: $52,000 (plus benefits)


To apply:

Please email the following, as a single pdf document, to:

Chelsea Watson (

  1. A cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position,
  2. Resume
  3. Unofficial transcript, and
  4. One paper you’ve written for a course, a research paper, or other writing sample.

Later in the process, we may ask you for up to three references.