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Economist

Job #: req485
Organization: World Bank
Sector: Economics
Grade: GF
Term Duration: 3 years 0 months
Recruitment Type: International Recruitment
Location: Washington, DC
Required Language(s): English
Preferred Language(s):
Closing Date: 10/6/2018 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC

 

Description

Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2017, the WBG committed $59 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $19 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188 member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org.

WORLD BANK GROUP CONTEXT
Development data – data and statistics that improve our knowledge of development in all its forms – is at the heart of the work of the World Bank Group, in operations, in advisory work, and in research. The mission of the Development Data Group (DECDG) is to put data to work for development. DECDG aims to achieve this by improving the quality, accessibility and use of development data, both for client countries and for staff, through technical expertise, partnership, and innovation.
DECDG provides technical expertise and helps mobilize resources for clients; it provides global public goods, including methods, standards, and tools for data work, and statistical indicators and datasets; and it delivers corporate services, supporting the Bank’s Data Council, the internal use and management of development data, and the provision of specialized knowledge to other Bank teams. It works closely with internal and external partners, and provides the Bank’s interface to the international statistical and development data communities.

POSITION CONTEXT
DECDG houses the World Bank’s main Data Team, including the Secretariat of the Development Data Council (DDC), a data governance body that coordinates the World Bank Group’s approach to data, in support of the objectives to eradicate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. This position is in the Development Indicators & Data (DECDD) team of DECDG. This team manages various high-quality data outputs, including the World Development Indicators (WDI) database, sub-national databases, and the World Bank’s data catalogue – the institutional hub where Bank’s data assets are stored and shared with both internal and external users. 

The position will be with the team that is responsible for monitoring global poverty within the Development Economics Vice Presidency of the World Bank, a joint responsibility by DECDG and the Development Research Group (DECRG). The work will focus on improving data, methods, documentation and tools at the heart of the global poverty monitoring exercise and, in particular, the strengthening of PovcalNet, the World Bank’s database and tool to monitor world poverty. PovcalNet is the source of information on countries’ trajectories towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the earlier Millennium Development Goals. Besides the World Bank, the United Nations and most other international organizations, as well as national governments, journalists and civil society frequently use the website. The website is thus an important public resource and attracts considerable interest with more than 8 million requests each year.
 
The World Bank’s global poverty measurement exercise faces several challenges over the next years. Previously a research product managed by DECRG, PovcalNet is now viewed as a critical widely-used data tool, resulting in an urgency to enhance performance, documentation, and to improve methodological coherence. The successful candidate will play a leading role in supporting the modernization of PovcalNet and improve documentation of data and improvements in methodology.

The SDGs’ focus on ‘ending poverty in all its forms’ and the corresponding indicators place new demands on the reporting of international poverty statistics. Furthermore, the Atkinson Commission on Global Poverty has made 21 recommendations to improve the World Bank’s poverty measurement. Incorporating these innovations into the global poverty measures will require new analytical and methodological work, as well as a redesign of the PovcalNet website. The selected candidate is expected to contribute to both these aspects

Duties and Accountabilities:

We are looking for an Economist with strong data science skills to help us strengthen the methodology, data and platform behind the World Bank’s global poverty and inequality monitoring work.

The specific duties will include: 

Methodology and analysis:

•Contribute to the development, implementation and documentation of World Bank’s poverty monitoring methodology, and effectively communicate current practices and changes through publications, methodological notes and research papers.

•Conduct analysis of global poverty and inequality, both at national and cross-country levels, including disaggregation and decomposition analysis focusing on gender, demographics and other factors, for internal and external publication and dissemination. 

•Lead smaller research projects focused both on analysis of trends and methodological and data innovations, with a particular focus on strengthening the harmonization of data and methods used, to sustain academic credibility of global poverty monitoring work. 
Systems and data management

•Contribute to the redesign of the global poverty monitoring platform to improve functionality, user interface and documentation of data and methods. 

•Coordinate the improvements to the underlying computer systems with the relevant IT specialists and lead computational implementation of new measurement approaches.

•Evaluate, document and automate data management and curation processes such as data ingestion, transformation, quality control and dissemination. 

Coordination:

•Coordinate the inputs from other World Bank departments, especially in the areas of documentation and survey harmonization. 

•Participate in the working groups that coordinate activities across various World Bank departments involved in the global poverty monitoring exercise.

•Support the maintenance and updating of the PovcalNet database, as new data become available or methodological revisions become necessary.

Selection Criteria

Formal Requirements

• Master’s degree (or PhD) in economics, statistics, mathematics or equivalent with a strong quantitative and computational background.

• At least five years of relevant professional experience (for candidates with a PhD, some professional experience with data collection or analysis linked to international development).


Technical Requirements:

•Experience in statistics, econometrics, development economics, and public economics.

•Experience with analyzing household surveys for measurement of poverty and inequality using income and consumption. 

•Familiarity with international poverty and inequality databases, such as PovcalNet, EU-SILC, and LIS.

•Excellent oral and written communication skills in English with ability to translate complex research findings into policy relevant language.

•Excellent working knowledge of modern statistics, scripting and programming languages such as STATA, R and Python and associated software libraries. 

•Knowledge of SQL, database systems, and the management of data in enterprise environments. Working knowledge of data visualization tools such as D3 and Tableau is an advantage.

•Technical experience in various aspects of data science - a creative problem solver with strong skills in design and problem formulation; data curation; data acquisition, cleaning and management; data interpretation and analysis; and the presentation and communication of results in an engaging and reproducible manner.

•Experience and knowledge of methods of data collection, analysis, and dissemination, especially as they relate to economic and social trends. 
 
Soft Skills:

•Analytical skills: ability to think strategically and rapidly analyze, interpret and integrate data information from varied sources into clear conclusions and recommendations.

•Communication skills: strong writing and data presentation skills, including data visualization.

•Ability to produce quality work with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail.  ‘

•Self-starter: ability to take the initiative and work independently.

•Strong team work orientation, good interpersonal skills, and a proven ability to work effectively with a range of clients and colleagues.

•Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, development and data work.

Competencies:

•Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – collaborates across organizational boundaries, internally and externally with a sense of mutuality and respect. Consistently engages others in open dialogue, brings out any conflicting viewpoints and incorporates viewpoints into solutions, giving credit where credit is due. Leverages expertise of all team members to ensure successful outcomes. Makes choices and sets priorities with a World Bank Group (WBG) corporate perspective in mind.

•Lead and Innovate – encourages and works with others to identify, incubate and implement relevant solutions. Identifies opportunities in changing circumstances and energizes others to continuously improve, using intentional strategies to boost morale, team spirit, and productivity in context of WBG's values and mission. Helps others to understand problems, client needs and the underlying context.

•Deliver Results for Clients – Develops and implements solutions that show understanding of how clients and/or own work achieves results that are financially, environmentally and socially sustainable. Shares new insights based on in-depth understanding of the client and recommends solutions for current and future needs of clients. Holds self and team accountable for risk management and outcomes.

•Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – ensures systematic sharing of good practice and learning from lessons from across WBG, clients, and partners. Is known across WBG in their subject area and is sought out by WBG colleagues to advise, peer review, or contribute to technical knowledge products of others. Builds networks across the WBG and as part of external professional groups/networks

•Make Smart Decisions – applies critical thinking and seeks inputs and experience from others to recommend a course of action consistent with the WBG's strategy. Evaluates risk and anticipates the short and long term implications of decisions. Commits to a decision and takes action once a decision has been reached. Maintains a high degree of initiative, and can derive and implement clear courses of action, even when information is incomplete, incorrect, or the situation is otherwise ambiguous.

The World Bank Group values diversity and encourages all qualified candidates who are nationals of World Bank Group member countries to apply, regardless of gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.  Sub-Saharan African nationals, Caribbean nationals, and female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.