Research Associates

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About Us

Research Associates

Federal Reserve of San Francisco building's loggia

The San Francisco Fed is looking for exceptional college graduates to join
our Economic Research team as Research Associates. We recognize the
benefit derived from different perspectives, and we are committed to
attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce. We are driven
by integrity and a mission of public service. People are our most
important assets.

Who We Are

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is the headquarters for the
Twelfth Federal Reserve District. We represent nine Western states as part
of the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States. We
serve the American public by promoting the effective operation of the U.S.
economy through conducting the nation’s monetary policy to promote maximum
employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.

Our Economic Research Department is a center for innovative thinking about
all aspects of the domestic and global economy. Our staff members conduct
high-caliber research and provide in-depth and independent analysis to
help support the Bank’s monetary policy, supervision, and public
information responsibilities. Our research and analysis reach a wide and
varied audience through publication in top academic journals, other
external publications, and web products that cover cutting-edge topics for
the general public and specialized audiences. Our work is frequently cited
in the media and used as educational resources.

What We Have to Offer

Research Associates are two-year, full-time, salaried employees with full
benefits. Within the Bank you will have the opportunity to learn about the
latest research through frequent luncheons, seminars, and conferences
while meeting influential researchers among our staff, visiting scholars,
and conference participants. We also offer a tuition reimbursement program
and flexible work schedule to encourage continued learning.

The Economic Research Department offers an outstanding research
environment with exceptional opportunities for people beginning to explore
their professional careers. Research Associates make use of their
undergraduate training and analytical skills in the areas of Economics,
Finance, Statistics, Mathematics, and Computer Science to support academic
research and monetary policy work by staff economists. Among others, tasks
include quantitative research analyses using economic and financial data;
computer programming; preparation of supporting briefing and educational
outreach materials; and financial and economic database management.

Research Associates work closely with economists at the top of their
fields on a variety of research questions and real-world policy issues
while developing a toolkit beneficial for graduate study and future career
paths.

Who Should Apply?

We seek candidates with superior academic records and strong written and
oral communication skills. Competitive candidates should have at least a
BA in Economics or Finance that includes a strong quantitative background
(econometrics and statistics, advanced calculus, computer programming); or
a BA/BS in Math, Statistics, or Computer Science with intermediate
coursework in Economics or Finance. We also look for prior research
experience, demonstrated interest in economics, significant computer
programming experience, and familiarity with statistical programming
packages such as STATA, R, and MATLAB.

Where Will You Go from Here?

Many of our Research Associates go on to enter competitive graduate
programs and find exciting employment in economics or other fields.

Here’s what some of our former Research Associates say about their
experience.

Leila Bengali, PhD Graduate Student, Yale University

When I talk about my time as a research associate at the Federal Reserve
Bank of San Francisco, I tell people that, as an Economics major, it was
the best job I could have imagined. Not only was I able to use what I
had learned about Economics from my studies in college, but I also had
the opportunity to see how the theories I studied were being applied to
address policy-relevant issues. One of the greatest benefits for me was
gaining experience working with large data sets and learning how to
write code to work with the data.

During my last year of college, I was not sure whether or not I
wanted to pursue graduate studies in economics, and I expressly
wanted to find a job that would help me make a decision about
graduate school. Working as a research associate allowed me to do
just that: I gained an understanding of the type of work that
economists do, which helped me determine that I did in fact want to
go to graduate school in economics. Also, I firmly believe that the
skills I gained from my time at the Federal Reserve Bank of San
Francisco have helped me succeed in doing my own research during
graduate school.

Select publications at the San Francisco Fed:

“The
Wage Growth Gap for Recent College Grads.”

FRBSF Economic Letter 2014-22, by Bart Hobijn and Leila
Bengali.

“Will
Labor Force Participation Bounce Back?”

FRBSF Economic Letter 2013-14, by Leila Bengali, Mary Daly,
and Rob Valletta.

Christopher Candelaria, Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University

Working as a research associate at the San Francisco Fed was
instrumental in my decision to pursue an academic research career. While
at the Fed, I had the opportunity to work with several economists on a
variety of interesting projects, expand my knowledge in statistics and
econometrics, and improve my skills in data management and analysis
using programs such as Stata, MATLAB, and SAS. I was also able to have
direct involvement in the research process by coauthoring research
papers and economic letters; these research experiences confirmed my
desire to become an academic. Given the Fed’s generous tuition benefit,
I also took classes at UC Berkeley to increase my skill set.

Overall, I highly recommend this position to anyone considering a
career in any quantitative social science. While some people go on
to graduate school in economics, the training you receive is also
transferable to other disciplines.

Select publications at the San Francisco Fed:

“Bank Linkages and International
Trade.”

Forthcoming in Journal of International Economics, by
Julian Caballero, Christopher Candelaria, and Galina Hale.

“Persistence
of Regional Wage Differences in China.”

Pacific Economic Review 20(3), August 2015, by Christopher
Candelaria, Mary C. Daly, and Galina Hale.

Puneet Chehal, Assistant Professor, Emory University

When I applied to the San Francisco Fed’s research associate position, I
was looking for opportunities to help me explore a future career in
research and fulfill a personal desire to engage in public service work.
The Research Department was a perfect fit because I could learn more
about careers in economic research and participate in policy work. There
are other agencies that offer policy-relevant research opportunities but
central banks and in particular the SF Fed are unique. The Fed, like
other central banks, is a modern remnant of historical institutions that
played a pivotal role in US history. The significance of the work and
emphasis on accountability to the American public was appealing to me.
It was also helpful that I could work at the SF Fed as a new immigrant
to the U.S. I immensely appreciated being a part of the culturally
diverse staff. I also appreciated that past RAs in the SF Fed Research
Department had transitioned to a wide array of career paths.

Ultimately, I enrolled in the PhD program at the Sanford School of
Public Policy at Duke University. Currently, I am an assistant
professor of Health Policy and Management at Emory University.
During my tenure in the department, I expanded my empirical skills,
helped prepare presidential briefings, completed coursework at UC
Berkeley, and published Economic Letters with my advisor. I
attribute these experiences with helping me transition to life in
graduate school and launch my career in academia.

Select publications at the San Francisco Fed:

“Stock
Market-Based Measures of Sectoral Shocks and the
Unemployment Rate.”

FRBSF Economic Letter 2010-23, by Puneet Chehal, Prakash
Loungani, and Bharat Trehan.

“Talking
about Tomorrow’s Monetary Policy Today.”

FRBSF Economic Letter 2009-35, by Puneet Chehal and Bharat
Trehan.

Elliot Marks, Director, Deployment & Operations, Smart Wires Inc.

The Fed gave me remarkable exposure to a wide range of economic and
business problems early in my career. In my 5 years at the Fed (1 year
in the RA program), I learned to write code to perform complex
statistical analyses, participated in Board of Directors meetings with
Fortune 500 executives, and received formal training in project
management and Lean Six Sigma process improvement. Many leaders in the
Bank—including Mary Daly, who is now the President and CEO—mentored me
along the way.

Starting my career at the Fed created challenges and opportunities
that most young people can only dream of having in their early
careers. The RA program is extremely competitive, and I would highly
recommend it to new graduates.

Select publications at the San Francisco Fed:

“The Labor Market in the Aftermath of the Great Recession.”
Business Economics 49(3), July 2014, by Mary C. Daly and
Elliot Marks.

“Are
U.S. Corporate Bonds Exposed to Europe?”

FRBSF Economic Letter 2012-17, by Galina Hale, Elliot
Marks, and Fernanda Nechio.

Justin Weidner, Economist, Deutsche Bank

Coming into the San Francisco Fed, I was unsure of whether or not I
wanted to even go to grad school, but seeing how the application of
economic theory and rigorous empirical work directly informed policy at
the Fed inspired me to continue with my academic career. As a research
associate, I gained an aptitude for working with and analyzing data that
has been the foundation of my career thus far. After my first year in
grad school, I was able to quickly begin working for a professor (who
became my advisor) as a research assistant on a data-intensive project
looking at wealth and income surveys across multiple countries. My time
as a research associate at the San Francisco Fed also gave me a great
working knowledge of many different data sets, which has been incredibly
useful at my current job covering the U.S. as an economist at Deutsche
Bank.

Beyond the hard skills I learned, the economists at the San
Francisco Fed that I worked with really cared about my professional
and personal development, from teaching me how to structure research
projects to helping me develop the confidence and communication
skills needed to clearly convey my ideas. I found the research
department to be an amazing place to work and filled with kind,
thoughtful, and interesting people, from whom I learned an
incredible amount. To me, there is no better place to work as
someone who is interested in economic research but wants to get more
experience before applying to graduate school.

Select publications at the San Francisco Fed:

“Does
Headline Inflation Converge to Core?”
FRBSF Economic Letter 2011-24, by Justin Weidner and
John
C. Williams.

“What
Is the New Normal Unemployment Rate?”

FRBSF Economic Letter 2011-05, by Justin Weidner and John
C. Williams.

Find Out More About Our Research Associate Program

Candidates can find additional information at
Fed Econ Jobs and the
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Research
section, and
apply for the position here.

Find us at
Glassdoor

under RA Program and visit our listing on Handshake.

To learn more about who we are at the San Francisco Fed, check out
recent features on President Mary Daly on
PBS NewsHour, follow us on
Facebook and
Twitter.