Posted: Jan 12, 2023

Predoctoral Fellow

Opportunity Insights - Cambridge, MA
Application Deadline: Feb 2, 2023


Opportunity Insights (OI) at Harvard University is hiring several full-time predoctoral fellows to start in Summer 2023 to work with our research group and under the direction of Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Nathan Hendren.  OI is a nonpartisan research and policy institute focused on improving economic opportunity. Founded in 2018, Opportunity Insight has become a nationally- and internationally-recognized leader in the science of economic mobility and in the use of large administrative data to understand and address inequality.  Opportunity Insights has published seminal work on national trends in upward mobility; racial disparities; the role of neighborhoods, social capital, and higher education in upward mobility; and the use of private-sector data to understand disparate impacts in the recent economic recession and recovery.  Much of the team’s ongoing research uses quasi-experimental methods to identify causal effects and test the predictions of economic and sociological models. Examples of current research projects include: long-term impacts of neighborhoods and place-based policies, the role of colleges in upward mobility, using big data to address health disparities, and measuring how social networks affect mobility.  OI’s work has shaped policy discussions at the national and local level, with nearly a dozen of its studies covered on the front pages of major media outlets, such as the New York TimesThe Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and have been widely cited in policy discussions. 

Fellows will be based at Harvard or Brown Universities under the direction of Professors Chetty, Friedman, and Hendren. The fellowship will include a variety of tasks that provide preparation for graduate school, such as analyzing data, developing statistical models, creating presentations, and editing research papers. In addition to working with OI faculty, predoctoral fellows frequently co-author papers with other students or faculty members. Fellows will interact regularly with professors and their collaborators – such as David Deming, Matthew Jackson, Larry Katz, Theresa Kuchler, and Johannes Stroebel – in a team-oriented lab environment, with regular lab meetings, seminars, and other events. Fellows also have the opportunity to support our research translation and policy work through such resources as the Opportunity Atlas, the Social Capital Atlas, and the Economic Tracker.

Fellows are invited to participate in broader activities at Harvard and Brown, including seminars and courses. The program serves as an ideal bridge between college and graduate school for students interested in empirical economics. Most previous fellows have gone on to top Ph.D. programs. Salary and benefits are competitive with other top predoctoral fellowships.

As an organization focused on economic mobility, we value having a diverse research staff and particularly encourage applications from groups traditionally under-represented in Economics. Applicants should be completing (or have completed) a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, have strong quantitative skills, and experience with empirical research methods. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with programming experience in Stata, SAS, R, and/or Python. Candidates need not be Economics majors, though they should have a strong interest in and some experience with Economics. Successful candidates have come from a variety of backgrounds (including from undergraduate and graduate programs, industry jobs, and other research assistant positions), and have a range of skill levels and experience with coding.

Fellowships will begin around July 1, 2023.  Fellows typically work at OI for two years before starting to graduate school in Economics or another social science or pursuing other related career paths.


Cambridge, MA


Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.


To apply, please complete the following two steps:

  1. Submit a formal application through Harvard University’s job site.
  2. Fill out and upload your resume, transcripts, and a writing sample through the OI online form.

Please note that we require both Harvard’s form and OI’s online form to be filled out in order to be considered.

Applications are due on Thursday, February 2nd, 2023 at 11:59pm ET.  Our selection process includes a coding exercise, a first-round interview, and a final round interview. We expect to share decisions from the Spring 2023 hiring round by mid-March. Questions about the application process can be sent to [email protected]

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law.


On Monday, January 23rd, 2023 at 1:00pm ET we will be hosting a virtual information session (via Zoom) to provide more information about the fellowship program and to answer questions potential candidates may have about the position or Opportunity Insights. Please register for the Info Session here.

Further information and answers to FAQs can be found here.