Securities and Exchange Commission

United States

Research Associate

    September 21, 2020
    November 22, 2020


The Office of the Investor Advocate (OIAD) at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) anticipates having multiple full-time Ph.D. Social Scientist, Statistician, and Economist positions to fill during the 2020-2021 recruiting cycle. OIAD is an independent office within the SEC that advocates internally and externally on investor protection issues.  Researchers in OIAD are expected to conduct policy-relevant research to advance OIAD’s mission.  To that end, researchers are expected to develop and maintain strong policy and academic connections.    

The positions will support OIAD’s investor testing initiative, POSITIER (Policy Oriented Stakeholder and Investor Testing for Innovative and Effective Regulation), which is widely recognized as one of the most dynamic research initiatives in government. POSITIER specializes in academic and policy research in multiple domains, including behavioral economics, decision sciences, law and economics, household finance, labor economics, and traditional finance.  Currently, our specific research streams relate to: information provision and disclosure effectiveness for better decision-making by retail investors; financial advice; investor perceptions and (non-)participation; investor behavior; and traditional finance topics relevant for investors (e.g., issues in the mutual fund market).  In addition, our group conducts independent critiques of the economic analysis of rule proposals that are produced by other parts of the Commission. 

Through POSITIER, OIAD has perhaps the most flexible and powerful suite of data capture tools to deploy of any government entity. OIAD principally conducts high quality experiments (field, lab, and survey-based), nationally representative probability-based surveys of households and firms, and supplemental qualitative studies. Over the past few years, we have also built exciting and unmatched capacities with administrative data.

We are seeking motivated candidates who are interested in performing high-quality policy research, as well as research leading to publication in academic, peer-reviewed journals.  Candidates should possess specialized skills, and an interest in working in interdisciplinary teams of researchers from multiple fields.  Senior candidates, as well as candidates completing their Ph.D. in 2020 or 2021, are eligible.  Those with an interest in: behavioral economics, law and economics, marketing, decision science, psychology, household finance, labor, finance (particularly the study of mutual funds, but also with interests in corporate finance and asset pricing), experiments, or survey methodology are strongly encouraged to apply.

Anticipated Specific Roles:  

Decision Scientists – Decision Scientists should have specialized background in analyzing human judgments or behaviors, marketing, psychology or a related field. 

Economists – The OIAD roles are most appropriate for economists with a background in household finance, labor, econometrics, behavioral economics/finance, law and economics, or related fields.

Financial Economist – Financial Economists should be able to serve as technical experts on investment products, markets, and asset pricing topics (particularly with investor-focused products like mutual funds and ETFs), or corporate governance issues.  The majority of economists in the SEC as a whole are financial economists.

Statistician – Statisticians should have a strong background in development of household finance and labor surveys, and/or in the design and analysis of experiments. 

Other Details: 

The SEC is not on the GS salary scale, and offers a highly competitive compensation and benefits package.  For more detail, see and

OIAD anticipates making both permanent appointments and full-time fellowship appointments.  Fellowship appointments are initially 2 years, with the option to extend an additional two years.  Permanent positions are typically reserved for candidates with experience.


Desired Qualifications for all positions:

  • D. in Decision Science, Marketing, Psychology, Organizational Behavior, Economics, Finance, Statistics or related fields
  • An interest in investor issues or the study of investor behavior is desirable.
  • Strong empirical research skills (e.g. econometrics, design of experiments, survey methodology). All candidates must be able to analyze existing data and help develop new datasets via surveys, experiments, administrative data, etc.
  • An interest in working in a fast-paced policy environment is essential. Prior policy experience is desirable, but not required. 


Please submit application materials (including a current CV, cover letter, reference letters, statement of citizenship, and representative research paper) to by November 22nd 2020. Expressions of interest will be considered on a rolling basis thereafter.  Interviews will occur virtually. Questions about submitting materials may also be sent to