Careers Research Assistant, Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy (PREE)

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The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has an immediate opening for a Research Assistant to join the dynamic and growing team of its Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy (PREE). Established in 2008, PREE is a leader on data-driven analysis of how race, ethnicity, gender and class intersect to uniquely affect economic outcomes and thoughtful framing of these issues in economic policy discussions. 

The research assistant (RA) position supports the research and writing of economists and policy analysts at EPI. The PREE RA will work on a variety of issue areas related to racial economic disparities, including (but not limited to) macroeconomic and labor market analysis (including wages, employment, and unemployment), income and wealth inequality, analysis of social safety net programs, health disparities, and state-level economic and policy analysis. The RA must be highly organized and detail-oriented and have the ability to gather, understand, analyze and compellingly present a wide variety of economic data. The RA must be able to present findings through tables, figures, and literature reviews and needs to meticulously document how their work is produced. The RA will also help the PREE team coordinate the work of external researchers working on PREE projects and publications. The ideal candidate is passionate about progressive economic policies that advance racial and gender equity, is eager to undertake rigorous quantitative research, and is organized and collaborative.

The RA job at EPI is a substantive position, with the vast majority of the RA’s time spent engaged in quantitative and qualitative research and writing. This position also offers excellent opportunities for on-the-job training; for example, EPI RAs receive extensive training to use STATA and WordPress, and are offered support if they want to learn R and version control and collaboration tools like Git/Github. Past EPI RAs have gone on to complete advanced degrees in social science, law, and other public policy fields. Former RAs are employed in tenured or tenure-track jobs in academia, for institutions like the Federal Reserve or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), or in other DC or state-based think tanks. There is no other entry-level policy job in DC that offers work as substantive or training that is deeper and more relevant for those wanting to begin a career in progressive policy.

EPI is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on typical families in the United States. We see our mission as ensuring that the economic interests of low and middle-income households are given their proper due by policymakers. EPI is a key institution in the movement for economic justice in the United States and is widely-recognized as a source of authoritative analysis on economic trends, with a particular focus on economic inequality.

EPI believes that having a diverse and inclusive workplace not only strengthens the institute’s work, but is essential for understanding and creating economic policies that support all working people. EPI is an equal opportunity, fair chance, affirmative action employer, committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior history of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, caregiver status, or other categories protected by law.

This position is based in Washington, DC. EPI is currently operating under a trial hybrid work policy with the majority of our staff primarily working remotely except for 1 week each month when all staff work in the office when it is safe to do so. Individuals may be required to work in the office or attend in-person meetings or events when it is necessary to carry out the duties and responsibilities of their job. We will determine whether to adopt a long-term hybrid work policy at the end of this year.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Collect, organize, and analyze data from published sources and from the Internet; 
  • Acquire extensive knowledge of official data sources (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census, Department of Commerce, Moody’s, Compustat, etc.);
  • Utilize statistical packages in the economic analysis of times series and cross-sectional data sets
  • Prepare data visualizations, including charts, graphs, and presentation materials;
  • Use WordPress functions and options to generate EPI web content and maintain existing online data repositories;
  • Prepare background research and memoranda: Conduct literature reviews and summarize relevant background material;
  • Participate in the design and execution of research projects, including the description of data sources, data sets and research results:
  • Respond to media and partner requests in coordination with the communications department, including interfacing with journalists, partner organizations, and the offices of policymakers;

Qualifications and Requirements

Required skills include:

  • Strong quantitative skills and comfort with data software;
  • Undergraduate degree, preferably in math, economics, or related social science (political science or public policy, for example);
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills;
  • Strong attention to detail, and ability to manage up and across the organization;
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities under pressure, trouble-shoot, and meet short- and long-term deadlines;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Excel and Word; 

 Preferred, but not required:

  • Experience with statistical software packages like STATA, R, or SAS;
  • Experience with data visualization and/or publishing software packages like WordPress;
  • Previous experience as an intern or research assistant at a research institute or think tank;

Salary and Benefits

  • EPI is a unionized workplace with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). This position is in the bargaining unit and reports to the PREE Director;
  • The salary for this position starts at $51,700 and may be higher based on relevant experience; The RA position at EPI has a salary ladder that guarantees annual wage increase in excess of cost-of-living;
  • In addition to significant on-the-job training, EPI Ras are also eligible for tuition benefits for external courses or training;
  • EPI offers an excellent benefits package, including generous paid time off, as well as retirement contributions, medical, vision, dental, short- and long-term disability, and life insurance;


  • This position is based in Washington, DC. The EPI staff are currently working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. EPI will resume in-person work in Washington, DC when it is safe to do so.

How To Apply

To apply, send cover letter, resume’ and a list of three references to No phone calls please.

The cover letter should state when the applicant will be available to start work. Resumes’ will be reviewed as received until the position is filled. 

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