Research Intern

Employer: LEAD at Krea 

Location: Chennai

Assignment type: 1 month

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience

About LEAD at Krea University

LEAD, an action-oriented research centre of IFMR Society (a not-for-profit society registered under the Societies Act), leverages the power of research, innovation and co-creation to solve complex and pressing challenges in development. LEAD has strategic oversight and brand support from Krea University (sponsored by IFMR Society) to enable synergies between academia and the research centre. LEAD is a collaborative hub that brings experts from diverse disciplines and sectors together to develop innovative solutions by harnessing innovation, technology and analytics.

Krea University is an emerging liberal arts institution offering multidisciplinary undergraduate programs which equip students to find their niche in the fluid, interconnected world of development. ‘Krea’ means an action-oriented approach in Sanskrit. The world-class University is home to the School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences (SIAS), IFMR Graduate School of Business and LEAD.

About the Project

Labor turnover and low labor supply is a major impediment to productivity in poor countries. While research focused on this policy concern has typically studied the role of labor demand, in this study we explore the role of limited labor supply in this market. We hypothesize that workers–who are used to the irregular, flexible, and intermittent work schedules associated with agriculture and casual work–have difficulty providing regular labor supply in the formal sector because they lack the habit of doing so.

To study labor supply, we focus on casual daily laborers in India who often gather in “labor stands” — public spaces where employers also congregate to find workers. Attendance at the stand provides a clear measure of labor supply. We will test whether temporary financial incentives to attend the stand can generate a habit of more regular labor supply, leading to greater attendance even after incentives are removed. However, persistence in this behaviour change could not only be driven by habit formation, but also increased demand for –now more reliable– labor. Additional experimental activities will be conducted to parse whether changes in labor supply are driven by: (i) supply side adjustments (i.e. habit formation), (ii) demand increases responding to the more regular labor supply (e.g. improved matching, development of firm-specific human capital), or (iii) both — creating a virtuous cycle.

This study will contribute to the academic literature on habit formation, industrialization, and drivers of labor productivity in a common and high-impact environment. Further, the research will contribute directly to active policy debates about employment in low-income countries. Should the study prove successful, such programs could have a very favourable cost benefit ratio given the long-run persistence of the behaviour changes and temporary nature of the incentives.

About the Role

The intern will be working on projects at the Behavioural Development Lab at LEAD. The primary goal of an intern is to ensure specific projects are implemented efficiently and oversee the project requirements. This includes a diverse set of activities such as enumerator management, field supervision, monitoring data collection and overall assistance in the progress of the research work. This position is for a period of five months, with a possibility of extension based on performance and project requirements.

Key Responsibilities

  • Help coordinate field research activities.
  • Coordinate with field monitors, field supervisors and surveyors.
  • Assist in creating surveys using Survey CTO.
  • Assist with the supervision of data collection and data entry.
  • Assist with data cleaning.
  • Conduct statistical analysis using Stata, when required.
  • Prepare literature reviews, background research, and draft other relevant content for the study.

Background and Qualifications

Education

  • Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in Economics or other related social science.

Work Experience 

  • Not required but preferred. 

Key Competencies

  • Fluency in English and Tamil is required.
  • Knowledge of Stata is preferred.
  • Familiarity with RCTs is preferred.

Application Instructions

  • Deadline: Applications are being accepted and reviewed until the position is filled.
  • To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample.
  • Please direct queries and applications to recruitment-lead@ifmr.ac.in with the title “Internship Ideas 42” in the subject line.