Pre-Doctoral Fellow

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2023


Harris School Pre-Docs, Temps and Non-Student Research Assistants

About the Department

Why Policy? For a better world. Why Harris Public Policy? Because when it comes to better policymaking, evidence matters. We work at the frontiers of data collection and analysis, using the latest technology and social science methods to design policies that work for society. We conduct rigorous inquiry in an environment of innovation and risk taking. We collaborate across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, adopting new methodologies to drive better solutions. We engage with our city, our world, and our leaders every day to evaluate and test our ideas. And we lead with our passion for driving social change, knowing that passion alone does not equal impact.

Job Summary

Professor Bruce D. Meyer, the McCormick Foundation Professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School, is seeking to hire one to two full-time Pre-Doctoral Fellows to join the Comprehensive Income Dataset (CID) Project for a two-year term starting in Summer 2024. The CID links government surveys with an unprecedented set of tax records and administrative program data, with the ultimate goal of being the most comprehensive and accurate income-related dataset ever created for the United States. The CID Project’s research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals and featured in media outlets such as the Economist, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

Pre-Doctoral Fellows work closely with Professor Meyer, Ph.D. researchers – including Nikolas Mittag, James Sullivan, Derek Wu, and Angela Wyse – and graduate students at the CID Project in all stages of the research process. As a fellow, you will link large and novel datasets to the CID; use cutting-edge statistical techniques to create more accurate measures of income and material deprivation; conduct sophisticated empirical analyses that have the potential to transform our understanding of economic well-being, poverty and highly vulnerable populations; prepare presentations and manuscripts; interact with outside academic experts and policy leaders involved with CID projects; and ultimately, coauthor papers submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

The Pre-Doctoral Fellow position is ideal preparation for top Ph.D. programs in economics and related fields. Previous fellows have gone on to attend Ph.D. programs at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago, as well as obtain a Rhodes Scholarship.


  • Pre-Doctoral Fellows will collaborate on research projects that further build the CID and use it to transform our understanding of economic well-being in the United States.

  • Perform routine assignments related to scientific research projects.

  • Assists in drafting presentations on research findings.

  • Analyzes possible solutions using standard procedures.

  • Ensures compliance of research activities with institutional, state, and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives and mandates.

  • Writes articles, reports and manuscripts.

  • Analyzes and maintains data and/or specimens. Conducts literature reviews. Assists with preparation of reports, manuscripts and other documents.

  • Maintains technical and administrative support for a research project.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through < 2 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Statistics or related disciplines.

  • Willingness and ability to obtain Special Sworn Status (requires 3 years of US residence within past 5 years) from the U.S. Census Bureau.


  • Previous research experience.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Proficiency in Stata required; ability to use other statistical software packages (e.g., SAS, R, or Python).

  • Significant coursework or experience in programming.

  • Exceptional technical skills and a proven ability to creatively tackle difficult empirical problems, but who are also passionate about advancing our understanding of some of the most deprived segments of the U.S. population and the programs that serve them.

Preferred Competencies

  • Strong interest in understanding poverty and issues affecting vulnerable populations.

  • Proven ability to work effectively in small teams, demonstrating a strong desire to both learn from and mentor other team members.

  • Drive and ability to develop a detailed understanding of areas ranging from cutting-edge econometric techniques to institutional details related to marginalized populations.

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.

  • High attention to detail and quality in data analysis and written material.

  • Significant knowledge of statistics and/or empirical economics research.

  • Demonstrated ability to review and prioritize work independently and effectively.

  • Demonstrated ability to be resourceful and creative in problem-solving.

Working Conditions

  • Pre-Doctoral Fellows will be based out of Chicago, IL.

Application Documents

  • Resume (required)

  • Cover Letter (required)

  • References (preferred)

  • Writing Sample (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family


Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

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Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

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