Request for research proposals
Tax-benefit microsimulation analysis

In order to improve the understanding of tax-benefit systems and their role in developing countries, and to increase the use of tax-benefit microsimulation models, UNU-WIDER invites proposals from qualified researchers for detailed economic analysis. Submission deadline is 26 February 2018 23:59 UTC+2.

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), together with the EUROMOD team at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex, and Southern African Social Policy Research Insights (SASPRI), has launched a major project SOUTHMOD – simulating tax and benefit policies for development, in which tax-benefit microsimulation models were built for selected developing countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia), and also elsewhere (Ecuador and Vietnam).

Many developing countries are currently building up their social protection systems and the financing of public spending will need to be increasingly based on domestic tax revenues. In this process, understanding the system-wide impacts of different policy choices is critically important, and tax-benefit microsimulation models are very well suited for this purpose.

This research initiative, part of UNU-WIDER’s 2014-18 research programme, aims at deepening our understanding of tax-benefit systems and their implications in developing countries.

Offer and expectations

In order to improve the understanding of tax-benefit systems and their role in developing countries, and to increase the use of tax-benefit microsimulation models, UNU-WIDER invites proposals from qualified researchers for detailed economic analysis.

The specific objectives of this request for research proposals are to:

  1. Understand better the role of tax-benefit policy in developing countries regarding poverty reduction and inequality.
  2. Contribute to a better understanding of modelling behavioural effects within tax-benefit microsimulation models to inform the policy debate.
  3. Push the limits of tax-benefit microsimulation models in areas posing challenges specifically when applying tax-benefit microsimulation in a developing country context, such as the role of indirect taxes, informality, and tax evasion.

Researcher(s) are free to base their analysis on the microsimulation model of their choice, including but not restricted to the microsimulation models developed under the SOUTHMOD project, which are freely accessible for non-commercial research purposes here.

Proposals from individuals, groups of individuals, as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Applications from suitably qualified early-career, female, and developing country researchers are particularly encouraged.

Individual researchers will be issued Consultant Contracts (CTC), while non-profit organizations will be issued an Institutional Contractual Agreement (ICA) by UNU-WIDER. Based on the qualifications of the lead researcher and an assessment of the research proposal, a total research honorarium in the range of US$4,000–6,000 for an accepted proposal will be paid for a working paper of a maximum 10,000 words including a one-page summary of the main research findings. The working paper will be considered for publication in the WIDER Working Paper series. The deliverables must be deemed satisfactory by the UNU-WIDER project focal points before payment is made.

The remuneration will be expected to cover all costs associated with the conduct of all research proposed under this proposal and attendance (one author per paper) at the work-in-progress workshop (see below). Travel costs for attending this workshop will be borne separately by UNU-WIDER in accordance with United Nations University travel rules.

All successful applicants will be expected to:

  1. Produce a relevant research paper of sufficient quality to merit publication in the WIDER Working Paper series.
  2. Attend (one author per paper) a 1-1.5-day workshop in Helsinki, Finland, (date tbd) where work in progress will be presented to other contracted researchers and selected international experts.

8 February 2018                Final opportunity for questions on the request for research proposals
26 February 2018              Proposals due
9 March 2018                    Target date for informing on funding decisions
23 March 2018                  Target date for completion of necessary administrative procedures
Mid-June 2018                  Target window for work-in-progress workshop
30 October 2018               Target date for submission of final paper

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 8 February 2018. All queries and responses will be published on this announcement page after this date.

See full request for research proposals