Foreign Service Economist

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 21 April 2020
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Job Description


USAID recruits Economist Officers to design, lead, manage and contribute to U.S. assistance programs overseas in developing countries. USAID economists support assistance programs in the areas of country strategy development, sectoral program choices, project design, project economic analysis, and monitoring and evaluation. In addition, economists have the opportunity to oversee and manage economic growth programs related to Macroeconomic Reform; Economic Policy and Institutions; Business, Legal and Institutional Reform; Financial Sector Reform; Privatization; and Trade and Investment.

Strategic Planning:Assists in the planning of a broad range of economic growth program activities, including identifying opportunities for integrating development assistance principles with economic growth sector programs; participates in the formation of policies and guidelines to further economic growth activities. Contributes to strategic planning documents, country assistance strategies, sector strategies, and similar planning exercises. Employs economic analyses, such as inclusive growth diagnostic/constraints analysis, and insights derived from them to provide guidance to senior managers for decisions about allocation of resources across sectors, and as input to cross-cutting issues such as environment or gender.

Program Analysis: Participates and assists in the development of plans and programs for technical assistance, strategic planning, and other activities within the economic growth sector. Performs analyses of macroeconomic and sector trends relating to country of assignment to inform senior management and program managers of relevant factors that may affect the U.S. assistance program. Supports design and evaluation of projects in all sectors. Performs economic analysis, such as cost-benefit analysis or cost-effectiveness analysis, as appropriate, of new project proposals and/or oversees contracted economic analyses. Communicates results of analysis both verbally and in writing to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a manner easily understood.

Reviews statistical soundness of data used to track program performance, proposes reliable and cost-effective statistical indicators of program success, and provides input into data collection and analysis performed by sector offices. Contributes economic criteria into scopes of work for project and program evaluations and briefs evaluation teams regarding economic background and conditions within which USAID programs operate.

Economic Policy Guidance:Serves as a technical resource to foreign assistance activities in the area of economic growth. Supports activities within the economic growth sector by reviewing and analyzing data and providing assistance and advice on economic growth issues. Assists in coordinating and managing strategies, policies, concepts, procedures, and guidelines for establishing programs in the economic growth sector. Identifies and analyzes macroeconomic and microeconomic constraints to development, both sector-wide and country-specific, and recommends courses of action.

Develops professional contacts, supports and contributes to joint analytic activities with economists and other officials in the host country government, resident missions of the international financial institutions, bilateral donors, embassies, as well as within the local academic and business communities, including the U.S, international and local chambers of commerce.

Collaborates with host country economists in the analysis of economic development problems, policy issues, project design and implementation.

Program Management:Contributes to the selection, design, implementation, and evaluation of foreign assistance activities in all program areas by identifying and analyzing economic issues relevant to their success, including the incentives affecting the behavior of those affected by those activities; the likely fiscal sustainability of those activities after donor assistance ends, the feasibility and desirability of greater reliance on market mechanisms, and similar issues. Provides technical advice on the likely impact of economic growth on social outcomes, and on the impact of social sector investments on economic outcomes.

Performs a variety of duties related to special projects involving program issues that contain complex elements. Assists in managing special crosscutting initiatives and task force groups to accomplish programmatic goals. These groups may review specific programs of the organization or develop new initiatives in various program areas.

During Washington assignments, coordinates assigned activities with other USAID Bureaus and Offices, the Department of State, other U.S. Government agencies, and the private sector.

Requirements Conditions of Employment
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must have worldwide availability
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a TS security clearance
  • Must be between 18 and 59 years old at time of application
  • Males born after 1959, must be registered with the Selective Service
  • Must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement

This is a Foreign Service announcement. Worldwide availability is a requirement of the position.

  • Oral Communication - Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.
  • Writing - Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a succinct and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material that is appropriate for the intended audience. Ability to develop reports and recommendations on economic issues related to international assistance programs for developing countries and express them in laymen’s terms.
  • Teamwork/Interpersonal Skills – Shows courtesy and empathy to others; develops and maintains effective relationships; effectively deals with individuals who are difficult or distressed; relates well to people from varied backgrounds cultures; is sensitive to individual differences. Ability to work in multidisciplinary teams to achieve results.
  • Management - Knowledge of planning, coordination, and execution of development projects, including human and financial resource allocation.
  • Problem Solving: Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.
  • Leadership: Influences, motivates, and challenges others; adapts leadership styles to a variety of situations.
  • Influencing/Negotiating: Persuades others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; works with others towards an agreement; negotiates to find mutually acceptable solutions.
  • Technical Competence: Uses knowledge of economic principles, theories, concepts, methods, and techniques that is acquired through formal training or extensive on-the-job experience to perform one’s job; works with, understands, and evaluates technical information related to the job; advises others on technical issues.
  • Flexibility: Is open to change and new information; adapts behavior or work methods in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles; effectively deals with ambiguity.
  • Adaptability: Ability to work in a developing country with limited modern conveniences.

Education & Experience:

FS-05: Applicant must have a graduate (Master’s or Doctorate) degree in a relevant major PLUS two (2) years of relevant experience.

FS-04: Applicant must have a Master’s degree in a relevant major PLUS four (4) years of relevant experience OR a Doctorate degree in a relevant major PLUS three (3) years of relevant experience.

Relevant degrees are in economics, agricultural/resource economics, international development, or public policy if coursework is fully equivalent to a graduate degree in economics, i.e. includes successful completion of one or more years of graduate-level coursework in economics in the following fields: (a) microeconomic theory or applied microeconomics; (b) macroeconomic theory; and (c) statistics, econometrics, or quantitative methods.

Relevant experience is defined as experience in at least one of the following Economic Growth disciplines: Macroeconomic policy, microeconomic Policy and Institutions; Agriculture and Agribusiness; business enabling environment; Financial Sector Reform; Privatization; Trade and Investment; or Enterprise Development and Competitiveness.

Examples of qualifying experience include: (1) individual research assignments requiring planning, information assembly, analysis and evaluation, conclusions and report preparation; (2) supervisory or project coordination assignments involving a staff of professional economists, and requiring the evaluation and interpretation of economic information; (3) service as an independent expert or consultant on technical economics problems, or as an economics advisor within a relevant public or private organization; or (4) teaching assignments in a college or university that included both class instruction in economics subjects and one of the following: (a) personal research that produced evidence of results, (b) direction of graduate theses in economics, or (c) services as an advisor or consultant in technical economics problems.


Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements. Transcripts from any and all foreign educational institutions must be accompanied by an official Evaluation of Educational Credentials in order to be considered for the position. It is your responsibility to provide evidence that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States when applying. If you are qualifying based on foreign education, you must submit proof of creditability of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency.

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