Scholar in Poverty and Social Welfare Policy

Cato Institute Scholar
Location Washington, D.C.
Application deadline 15 February 2023
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
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The Cato Institute is seeking a full-time scholar to work on poverty and social welfare policy in Washington, D.C.

About Cato Institute

The Cato Institute is a public policy research organisation—a think tank—dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues. Founded in 1977, Cato owes its name to Cato’s Letters, a series of essays published in 18th- century England that presented a vision of society free from excessive government power. Those essays inspired the architects of the American Revolution. And the simple, timeless principles of that revolution — individual liberty, limited government, and free markets – turn out to be even more powerful in today’s world of global markets and unprecedented access to information than Jefferson or Madison could have imagined. Social and economic freedom is not just the best policy for free people, it is the indispensable framework for the future. Cato Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

About the role

The scholar will be responsible for analysing social welfare policy, poverty, critiquing social welfare policy in written and oral communications, proposing welfare reforms consistent with Cato’s principles, and communicating broadly on this issue area to the general public, the media, policy makers, and others. The scholar’s written analyses will be published in multiple formats including policy analyses, working papers, op-eds, blog posts, white papers, as well as others on, and elsewhere. The scholar will be expected to speak widely with policy makers on Capitol Hill, members of the media, public events, and other scholars.

The scholar will report directly to the Vice President for Economic and Social Policy Studies. The successful candidate will have deep knowledge of the economics of social welfare policy, deep knowledge of existing welfare programs, understand the debate over poverty and its causes, be able to work well independently and with others, capable of developing new social welfare reform proposals, and be industrious, motivated, and principled. Job title and compensation are competitive and will be based on the experience and skills of the successful candidate.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Analyze and write about poverty and social welfare policy and its effects.
  • Write detailed analyses of welfare policy for Cato Institute publications such as policy analyses, briefs, blog posts, op-eds, working papers, and other forms.
  • Propose libertarian reforms to social welfare policy.
  • Speak with policy makers, public audiences, and members of the media about social welfare policy and poverty.
  • Organize policy forums and other events.
  • Commission and edit studies from outside experts.

Experience and skills

  • A strong commitment to Cato’s libertarian values.
  • Deep knowledge of the effects of social welfare policy.
  • Deep knowledge of existing social welfare programs and how they function.
  • Deep knowledge about the social science of poverty.
  • Strong research skills.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work on multiple tasks independently on a time-sensitive basis, a commitment to accuracy, and creativity in developing new welfare reforms consistent with libertarian principles.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience analysing welfare policy on Capitol Hill, think tanks, academic institutions, or other policy-related positions is preferred. However, those with limited experience should also apply.
  • Advanced degree in economics, other social sciences, or law is preferred. Familiarity with data analysis and modern statistical methods is a plus.