Request for research proposals
Firm-level analysis

UNU-WIDER, the National Treasury of the Republic of South Africa (NT), and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) invite proposals from qualified researchers for detailed economic analysis of the available administrative datasets. Submission deadline is 26 February 2018 23:59 UTC+2.

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) is implementing over the period 2017–20 a research programme entitled South Africa – Toward Inclusive Economic Development (SA-TIED), with the aim of enhancing economic research, capacity-building, and policy dialogue.

Understanding the opportunities and constraints to private sector development and productivity growth is key for the design of effective policies for job creation, and economic growth more broadly. The recent availability of tax administrative data on enterprises in South Africa provides a valuable resource for policy-relevant academic research that allows for a deeper understanding of the functioning of the private sector and the mechanisms through which government policy and globalization impact on economic growth and development.


UNU-WIDER, the National Treasury of the Republic of South Africa (NT), and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) invite proposals from qualified researchers for detailed economic analysis of these administrative datasets. Special consideration will be given to research teams that include junior and early-career researchers.

The objectives of this request for research proposals are to:

  1. Provide an opportunity to researchers to conduct policy-relevant research on topics of relevance to growth, productivity and job creation in South Africa that can be explored using firm-level analysis.
  2. Facilitate policy dialogue through engaging with researchers on policy-relevant issues and ensuring that that the findings from this research are communicated effectively to all stakeholders — including the academic community, policy makers and civil society via policy summaries and dialogue.

Proposals from individuals, groups of individuals, as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Researchers can be based in South Africa or internationally, and can combine researchers from different countries and institutions. Researcher(s) with successful proposals will gain access to generally inaccessible datasets at NT, subject to agreed restrictions to preserve confidentiality. The sources of South African administrative tax data available include: (i) company income tax (CIT) data from CIT-registered firms who submit CIT forms; (ii) employee data from employee income tax certificates submitted by employers (i.e., IRP5 and IT3a); (iii) value-added tax (VAT) data from VAT registered firms; and (iv) customs records from traders. More information about the firm-level data can be found here

Proposal submission

Submission of proposals is done electronically using appropriate form on the left column of this page. There are three forms to select from; one for individuals, another for groups of individuals and a third one for NGOs. The deadline for submitting proposals is 26 February 2018 23:59 UTC+2. See full request for research proposals for detailed proposal submission details.

Any questions on the proposal process should be sent to by 7 February 2018. All queries and responses will be published on this announcement page after this date.

See full request for research proposals