Request for research proposals
Transforming informal work and livelihoods

UNU-WIDER invites proposals from qualified researchers for papers examining the constraints to the growth of informal enterprises and livelihood enhancement for the working poor in the informal sector. Submission deadline: 15 July 2019, 23:59 UTC+3
Brief background

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) is assembling a journal special issue and a book volume focused on understanding the constraints to livelihood enhancement of informal enterprises, self-employed and wage workers in the informal sector as part of the Institute’s new project ‘Transforming informal work and livelihoods’.

With ‘premature deindustrialization’ and the growth of the informal service sector, it seems likely that the trajectory towards informalization in low- and middle-income countries may be intensified in the future. The challenge for policy makers is then to find ways to encourage the movement of workers from the relatively unproductive lower informal sector to the more productive formal sector and at the same time, provide opportunities for more dynamic informal firms to grow, and for those working in these firms to achieve decent and remunerative work, even while remaining informal. However, in this effort, policy makers are constrained by the lack of available evidence on the causes of informality and the most effective mechanisms to reduce informality and strengthen decent work in the sector. This research project aims to address this gap.

Read the full announcement for more information.

Offer and expectations

UNU-WIDER invites proposals from qualified researchers for papers examining the constraints to the growth of informal enterprises and livelihood enhancement for the working poor in the informal sector. The aim is that these papers will culminate as articles in a special issue of a journal. For papers that may not be suitable for publication in the special issue of the journal in consideration, they may be published in an edited book volume instead.  While the emphasis is on empirical papers using panel data, theoretical work as well as papers using qualitative or mixed methods will be considered as well.

Proposals from individuals (or groups of individuals) as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Applications from suitably qualified women and developing country researchers are particularly encouraged. Proposals may address one or more of the research questions. Please read the concept note behind the project carefully before submitting a proposal.

The working paper will be considered for publication in the WIDER Working Paper series. The working paper needs to be written in English and should be limited to 10,000 words or less as this is likely to be the requirement of the journal/book volume.

All successful applicants are expected to attend a 1-2 day workshop in 2020 (date and venue TBD) where work in progress will be presented to other contracted researchers.

Read the full announcement for more information.

Dates (EET–Eastern Europe Time)
15 May 2019 Announcement posted.
15 June 2019 Final opportunity for questions on the request for research proposals.
15 July 2019 Proposals due.
15 August 2019 Target date for informing on funding decisions.
15 October 2019 Target date for completion of necessary administrative procedures.
31 January 2020 Target date for submission of first draft of papers.
March – April 2020 Target window for work-in-progress workshop.
30 June 2020 Target date for submission of final papers.
31 July 2020 Target date for submission of special issue to journal editor.
Proposal submission details

Submission of proposals is done electronically by using the appropriate link on the left side column. There are three forms to select from; one for individuals, another for groups of individuals, and a third one for non-profit organizations. Details (such as address, gender, nationality, date of birth) of all researchers involved will need to be entered to the form and the cover page, the proposal, and short CVs (five pages or less) of researcher/s uploaded. Please familiarize yourself with the form in advance.

Any questions on the proposal process should be sent to researchproposal2@wider.unu.edu by 15 June 2019. All queries and responses will be published on this page. Selected answers will be updated on a rolling basis.

See full request for research proposals.