The Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC) invites applications for full-time pre-doctoral fellows for the academic year 2020-21. An interdisciplinary research and training center at the University of Chicago, EPIC is contributing innovative solutions to the global energy challenge: how can we ensure that people around the world, today and in the future, have access to reliable, affordable energy needed for human development without putting our health, environment and climate at risk? Previous results from EPIC projects have been influential with policymakers worldwide and featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other leading publications.

Successful candidates will report to Thomas Covert, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Ryan Kellogg, Professor and Deputy Dean, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Their research examines the widespread improvements in the productivity of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling (“fracking”) that have dramatically reshaped U.S. energy markets, unlocking nearly $1 trillion of previously uneconomic shale oil and gas reserves. In a research project that is expected to span multiple papers, professors Covert and Kellogg aim to document the causes of productivity growth in the U.S. shale business and measure barriers to further improvements in efficiency. This effort will shed light, for instance, on how the oil and gas price environment and contracting behavior between firms and local landowners have affected shale development to date.

Overall, this research agenda will provide the first large-scale evidence of how the evolution (and distortion) of the efficiency of the industry has affected the U.S. oil and gas sector. The results are expected to inform predictions for the shale industry’s future trajectory, along with further implications for energy markets and the environment, and to speak to long-standing questions in the field of industrial organization regarding productivity growth and misallocation of economic activity.

The predoctoral fellow’s responsibilities will span all stages of research, including collecting data of in both tabular and spatial formats, developing algorithms that clean and organize data, conducting statistical analyses, running simulations, and preparing manuscripts and presentations.

The program is intended to serve as a bridge between college and graduate school for students interested in empirical economics. People in this or similar positions have gone on to Economics Ph.D. programs at Harvard, MIT, University of Chicago, University of California, Berkeley, and similar schools upon completion of this program.

Applicants must have completed a Bachelors or Master’s degree by June 2020 and have strong quantitative and programming skills. Candidates with research experience are strongly preferred, especially those with experience in Stata, R, Python or Matlab. The ideal candidate would begin on August 1, 2020 and work for EPIC for one or two years before applying to graduate school in Economics or another quantitative social science. EPIC offers competitive salary and employee benefits.

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