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Principal Economist, Economic Policy Research Department

Job #: req19745
Organization: IFC
Sector: Economics
Grade: GH
Term Duration: 3 years 0 months
Recruitment Type: International Recruitment
Location: Washington, DC,United States
Required Language(s): English
Preferred Language(s): Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Russian
Closing Date: 12/2/2022 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC



IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2022, IFC committed a record $32.8 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. For more information, visit

The Economic Policy Research Department (CER) is in the Economics and Private Sector Development Vice Presidency Unit (CED VPU). This new department is a strong hub for the analytical work in support of IFC’s investment and advisory activities and economics research on issues related to private sector development. Specifically, this department conducts primary research that results in a series of flagship IFC reports, articles, and academic publications to IFC’s profile as a thought leader in private sector development. This department also organizes conferences and round tables with external academics and experts, conducts sector analysis for Country Private Sector Diagnostics, works with IFC clients and Operations to analyze bespoke requests, and provides analytical inputs to guide IFC’s strategy. 

The Department is seeking to recruit a Principal Economist focused on one or more of the following areas: trade and supply chains, agriculture and food markets, and competitiveness and productivity to lead core research, develop new analytical articles and reports, and recruit and supervise the work of Senior Economists, Economists, and Research Analysts in the Department. The Principal Economist will be a motivated and dynamic professional, with exceptional analytical skills and policy-relevant experience, expertise in private sector development and applied research, a strong track record of publications, and team spirit, working in collaboration with colleagues in other Departments in the CED VPU, in IFC Operations, and at the World Bank. The position is based at IFC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. will report to the Director, CER.

Duties and responsibilities:

The roles and responsibilities of the position will include:

•  Develop and grow a strategic knowledge portfolio on one or more themes of trade and supply chains, agriculture and food markets, and competitiveness and productivity for low- and middle- income countries. Research focus should be relevant to companies, sectors, and national private sector development policies. A successful candidate will also be expected to make substantive contributions to knowledge work in other core topics of the Department such as financial services, inclusion, and capital mobilization (including green finance), technology (including disruptive technologies), and job creation and skills.
•  Within the area(s) of trade and supply chains, agriculture and food markets, and competitiveness and productivity, oversee the production of economic research reports, articles, and academic publications based on new analysis and data, providing strategic guidance, oversight, and quality assurance to the team of economists. Research findings should be relevant to IFC operations, investors, and policymakers, and should contribute to the global dialogue amongst business and government leaders and other thought leaders.
•  Lead the development of modeling approaches, operationally relevant analytical tools, and creation and dissemination of new databases to assess climate risks and decarbonization pathways. Work with IFC staff, WBG experts, and leading academics to identify opportunities for new surveys, sources of real-time data, and other new methodologies for IFC research.
•  Oversee and shape the communication strategy within the focus areas above, including publications, blogs, and digital assets; conferences, talks, and other engagement with academic and business thought leaders in relevant fields; and convening a Community of Interest for economists and researchers across the IFC.
•  Draw on findings from economic research to inform IFC strategy, Investment and Advisory operations, Upstream engagements, and WBG policy work.  Establish a feedback loop between outreach and dissemination and research to foster innovation and ensure continuous improvement in the relevance and impact of IFC research.
•  In partnership with Operations Management, ensure that lessons learnt from IFC’s operations as well as IFC’s knowledge and experience of private sector development policy and economics are captured, curated and disseminated across IFC Operations and in the WBG.
•  Develop new global engagements and interface with university economics departments, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other International Financial Institutions and external partners on one or more thematic areas above.
•  Supervise the work of the Department’s PhD economists, data scientists, and other researchers to ensure quality, consistency, and conformity to the highest levels of rigor. Guide colleagues on program design and management, project delivery, and professional development.
•  Drive and inspire technical excellence within the Department by creating an environment of learning, innovation, and knowledge sharing.
•  Deliver the agreed upon work program through cost effective use of resources and ensure timely delivery of high-quality outputs.

Selection Criteria

•  PhD in Economics and 12+ years of relevant experience as an economics research practitioner. (Applicants with fewer years of experience may be considered for a Senior Economist role)
•  Commitment to the WBG and IFC’s mission and values.
•  Strong analytical and quantitative skills, including econometric approaches, survey design and implementation, economic modeling, as well as design, implementation, and evaluation (such as RCTs) of policies and programs to promote private sector development.
•  Ability to analyze complex policy problems and develop new and innovative approaches.
•  Demonstrated track record of publishing high-impact economic reports and articles for external audiences in topics related to private sector development and IFC’s thematic areas of focus.
•  In-depth knowledge of the economics of trade and supply chains, agriculture and food markets, and/or competitiveness and productivity. Knowledge of related areas – e.g., competition, innovation, the digital economy, financial services and inclusion, job creation and skills, spatial and agglomeration policies, gender, affordable housing, and resilient health systems – is a plus.
•  Ability to integrate subject matter knowledge within broader frameworks and approaches.
•  Demonstrated leadership abilities, including building high-performing teams, coaching and mentoring junior colleagues.
•  Effective and persuasive oral and written communication skills. Ability to cultivate an active network of relationships inside and outside the organization and to represent IFC publicly as needed.
•  Demonstrated ability to operate in a collaborative manner in a matrixed, highly complex and global organization.

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.