Federal Welfare Policy Scholar
Job Type

The Cato Institute is seeking to hire a full-time scholar to work on federal welfare policy in Washington DC. The scholar will be responsible for analyzing the federal welfare policy, critiquing welfare policy in written and oral communications, proposing welfare reforms consistent with Cato’s principles (see Company Overview below), and communicate 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, and others on www.Cato.org 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 welfare, deep knowledge of existing federal welfare programs, be able to work well independently and with others, capable of developing new federal 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.

About Cato 

The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization—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.


  • Analyze and write about federal welfare policy and its effects.
  • Analyze and present welfare data, including government expenditures, use rates, and other data on federal welfare programs.
  • 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 federal welfare policy.
  • Speak frequently with policy makers about federal welfare policy.
  • Consult frequently with other welfare experts in other organizations, such as economists, attorneys, policy makers, and others.
  • Make presentations to audiences, participate in panel discussions, and media appearances.
  • Organize policy forums and other events.
  • Commission and edit studies from outside experts.
  • Must have a strong commitment to Cato’s libertarian values.
  • Advanced degree in economics, other social sciences, or law is preferred.
  • Must have deep knowledge of the effects of federal welfare policy.
  • Must have deep knowledge of existing federal welfare programs and how they function.
  • Must have strong research skills.
  • Must have strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Must have the 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. 
  • Must be able to participate in or plan events, including conferences and webinars.
  • Experience analyzing welfare policy on Capitol Hill, think tanks, academic institutions, or other policy-related positions is preferred.
  • Familiarity with data analysis and modern statistical methods is a plus. 

To Apply, Please Submit the Following

1. CV/Resume. 

2. Cover letter required. 

3. Answer screening questions on online application: 

4. Two representative writing samples about welfare that preferably include original empirical work.