Intern: The Economics and Policy of Dam Removals

Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified


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Resources for the Future (RFF), an independent, non-profit research institution in Washington, DC whose mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement (see, is offering 2019 summer internships for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students. Priority consideration is given to graduate students. The program is open to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens, provided the latter have proper work and residency documentation at the time of their internship start date. Internships are available beginning in mid-May and ending in late August for a 10-week assignment. To meet individual needs, some flexibility in the beginning and ending dates is possible. Students will earn a stipend ($375 per week for graduate students; $350 per week for undergraduates). Housing assistance is not provided.

Each intern can expect to work with one or more RFF researchers on a variety of ongoing projects or assist in the development of entirely new areas of research and policy analysis. Candidates should display strong writing skills and a desire to analyze complex environmental policy problems amenable to interdisciplinary methods. The ability to work without supervision in a careful and conscientious manner is essential.

Before applying for internships, students should consult the internship description below to determine if they have the suitable background for the targeted area of research.

All 2019 Summer Intern applicants must use RFF’s online application process: to submit their application. Students are welcome to apply for multiple internships, but must submit a separate application for each internship in which they are interested. The following information is required for each internship application:

  1. a cover letter detailing project(s) of interest: please be as specific as possible when describing why you chose the project(s), as well as any related class work or experience;
  2. a resume/curriculum vitae;
  3. a recent transcript (unofficial copies are acceptable);
  4. a writing sample of three to five pages from a recent paper (excerpts are acceptable); and
  5. the name, address, phone number, and email information for two references.

Additional materials (i.e., transcript, writing samples, and references) may be uploaded using the online Resume and Cover Letter options. If you have trouble with the online application system, please try using a different browser.

The application deadline is Friday, March 15, 2019. Candidates selected for a position will be notified starting in mid-April 2019.

If you have questions about the internships, please email RFF at . Due to anticipated volume of interest, we will be unable to respond to telephone calls or emails other than the address listed above.

RFF is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

We are unable to sponsor visas for internships.


Title: The Economics and Policy of Dam Removals

Description: Rivers in the United States are home to approximately 90,000 dams. Many were built several decades ago, are no longer serving their original purpose, can be a hazard for recreationists and in some instances are at risk of failure with flooding of downstream areas. These factors have spurred an interest in dam removals, but removals are costly and if a dam still provides benefits, the best decision involves considering the tradeoffs. We are developing a framework for considering how costs and benefits of dam removals might be considered, gathering and analyzing data to test the framework, and understanding the institutional context that governs dam removal decision making.   

Intern Responsibilities:  Intern will work to perform a variety of data collection and organization activities and background research on dam removal decisions, including collection of data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on hydropower dam relicensing, assembling a dataset of state dam safety offices and their activities, collection and analysis of data on dam removals, and other activities. 

Project Leaders: Leonard Shabman and Margaret Walls

Skills desired: Good writing ability and ability to prepare concise summaries of background information and data. Expertise with Excel. Expertise in Stata and other statistical software packages a plus. Some knowledge of ArcGIS also helpful.