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WIDERAngle
Season's greetings 2021
 
 
 
Season's greetings 2021
 
On behalf of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) we wish you a happy holiday season and prosperous new year!
 
 
Blogs
 
 
Working together to better understand how COVID-19 affects poverty and inequality
by Pia Rattenhuber, Rodrigo C. Oliveira, and Jesse Lastunen
 
The SOUTHMOD team's ongoing work on social protection and inequality reduction is bearing fruit with the recent release of a number of studies. Here we look at a cross-country comparative study that analyses the distributional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related tax-benefit measures in five African countries.
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From sub-Saharan Africa to Viet Nam and Ecuador, how one model is used to improve social protection
by Gemma Wright and Michael Noble
 
Are there enough tax payers to generate the revenue needed by governments to reduce poverty? How adequate are the social security arrangements that already exist? Anyone who has started to probe these issues will know that the answers to such questions can be hard to pin down. 
Read more
 
 
 
Dr Pia Rattenhuber on inequality in crises – an interview
by Atiqah Fairuz Salleh and Pia Rattenhuber
 
How do crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic influence inequality and the other way around? This year’s UN Day Dresden put a spotlight on 'Inequalities in Crises'. In an interview, we got up close and personal with our keynote speaker Dr Pia Rattenhuber (UNU-WIDER), an expert in development economics.
Read more
 
 
Photo by Baron Reznik
 
Efforts to protect the poor during COVID – how five African countries fared
by Jesse Lastunen, Pia Rattenhuber, and Rodrigo C. Oliveira
 
The number of people living in poverty around the world is estimated to have increased by half a billion people due to the COVID-19 crisis. The African continent has suffered at least US$100 billion in economic costs in 2020, measured by the reduction in trade revenues and financial flows due to the pandemic.
Read more
 
 
 
The pandemic and Africa's social safety net
by Jesse Lastunen, Pia Rattenhuber, and Rodrigo C. Oliveira
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that African tax and social-benefit systems are currently ill-equipped to protect households from sudden income losses. Meaningful progress will require policymakers to reduce the size of the informal sector and improve the design and financing of social-protection measures.
Read more
 
 
 
An African in Africa – new perspectives on travelling for research
by Kwabena Adu-Ababio
 
Working for an international organisation presents a host of challenges, given the vast nature of tasks that one must surmount in a fast paced and changing environment. It might be a roller coaster, but also satisfying by providing many worthwhile experiences. 
Read more
 
 
 
Least Developed Countries are facing five major challenges – four suggestions to tackle them
by Kunal Sen
 
In October we had the honor to co-host  the first ever LDC Future Forum here in Helsinki. It was our first large-scale live event since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which made it particularly exciting to be involved in.
Read more
 
 
WIDER Annual Lecture 25 | Women’s struggle for land in South Asia: Can legal reforms trump social norms?
 
Given by Bina Agarwal with Sakiko Fukuda-Parr. Thursday 9 December 2021. 16:00 – 17:30 (UTC+2).
Register
 
 
Sign up for the SOUTHMOD newsletter
 
Periodic updates from the SOUTHMOD project, our work on tax and social benefit policies using microsimulation models in the Global South.
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WIDER Working Paper Series
 
Working Paper
The mitigating role of tax and benefit rescue packages for poverty and inequality in Africa amid the COVID-19 pandemic
by Jesse Lastunen et al.
Read more
Working Paper
Tax effort revisited: new estimates from the Government Revenue Dataset
by Kyle McNabb, Michael Danquah, and Abrams M.E. Tagem
Read more
Working Paper
The effect of fiscal drag on income distribution and work incentives – a microsimulation analysis on selected African countries
by Adnan Abdulaziz Shahir and Francesco Figari
Read more
 
 
Working Paper
Simulation of options to replace the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant and close the poverty gap at the food poverty line
by Maya Goldman et al.
Read more
Working Paper
Towards greater poverty reduction in Zambia – simulating potential Cash Plus reforms using MicroZAMOD 
by Katrin Gasior et al.
Read more
Working Paper
An assessment of presumptive tax in Uganda – evaluating the 2020 reform and four alternative reform scenarios using UGAMOD, a tax-benefit microsimulation model for Uganda
by Ronald Waiswa et al.
Read more
 
 
Working Paper
Aid and social cohesion
by Michael Danquah and Bazoumana Ouattara
Read more
Working Paper
Exploring the quality of income data in two African household surveys for the purpose of tax-benefit microsimulation modelling – imputing employment income in Tanzania and Zambia 
by David McLennan et al.
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Working Paper
The gender employment gap: the effects of extended maternity leave policy in Viet Nam
by Tu Thi Ngoc Le and Ngoc Thi Bich Pham
Read more
 
 
Publications
 
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash
 
Book | Social mobility in developing countries – concepts, methods, and determinants
edited by Vegard Iversen, Anirudh Krishna, and Kunal Sen
 
Social mobility — defined as the ability to move from a lower to a higher level of education or occupational status, or from a lower to a higher social class or income group — is the hope of economic development and the mantra of a good society.
Read more
 
 
 
Journal Article | Data deprivations, data gaps and digital divides – lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic
by Wim Naudé and Ricardo Vinuesa
 
OPEN ACCESS | This study draws lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic for the relationship between data-driven decision making and global development.
Read more
 
 
 
Journal Article | Beyond access to basic services: perspectives on social health determinants of Mozambique
by Alba Llop-Gironés and Sam Jones
 
OPEN ACCESS | A wide range of evidence shows systematic differences in health status among social groups, which are associated with unequal exposure to and distribution of the social determinants of health (SDH). 
Read more
 
 
REPORT
SOUTHMOD country report Ecuador - ECUAMOD v2.0
This report documents ECUAMOD, the SOUTHMOD micrososimulation model developed for Ecuador. It describes the different tax–benefit policies in place, how the microsimulation model takes advantage of these different provisions, and the database on which the model runs. 
Read more
REPORT
SOUTHMOD country report Mozambique - MOZMOD v2.6a
This report documents MOZMOD, the SOUTHMOD model developed for Mozambique. It describes the different tax-benefit policies in place, how the microsimulation model picks up these different provisions, and the database on which the model runs. 
Read more
REPORT
SOUTHMOD country report Ghana - GHAMOD v2.3
This report documents GHAMOD, the SOUTHMOD model developed for Ghana. The report describes the different tax-benefit policies in place, how the microsimulation model picks up these different provisions, and the database on which the model runs. 
Read more
 
 
 
Policy Brief | The role of tax-benefit policies during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 in Mozambique
by José Cardoso et al.
 
Mozambique reported its first case of COVID-19 on 22 March 2020. GDP estimates suggest a strong pandemic effect, with a reduction in seven of nine business sectors analysed. However, the agriculture sector, one of the most important, experienced a 9% increase, which may have cushioned the pandemic impact.
Read more
 
 
 
Policy Brief | Limited impact of the tax-benefit system in Tanzania during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020
by Elineema Kisanga et al.
 
Tanzania, similar to most sub-Saharan countries, reported its first COVID-19 cases in March 2020. While GDP estimates suggest that the economy was less hard hit than in other African countries, some sectors have nevertheless experienced negative growth. 
Read more
 
 
 
Policy Brief | Distributional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda
by Jesse Lastunen et al.
 
In 2020, the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic caused an economic crisis that disrupted the Ugandan labour market. How large were the associated income losses across different industries and population groups? To what extent did the general tax-benefit system mitigate the adverse effects of the crisis? UGAMOD, the tax-benefit microsimulation model for Uganda, helps to answer these questions.
Read more
 
 
 
Policy Brief | Distributional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zambia
by José Cardoso et al.
 
Zambia’s economic growth has been flattening over the past decade. In 2020 economic prospects further worsened, following the onset of the pandemic, rising debt, and the Eurobond default. In this unprecedented scenario, there is the need to examine impacts on welfare and the mitigation role taxes and benefits play. MicroZAMOD, the tax-benefit microsimulation model for Zambia, helps in the investigation of the COVID-19 shock.
Read more
 
 
 
Policy Brief | Distributional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana
by Kwabena Adu-Ababio, Robert Darko Osei, Jukka Pirttilä, and Pia Rattenhuber
 
The first cases of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa were reported in March 2020, and the impact of the pandemic has since rippled through the world and Africa. In response to the crisis and similarly to many of its peers, Ghana has enacted a variety of containment measures to confront the pandemic, and a variety of tax-benefit measures to protect society from the severely reduced economic activity.
Read more
 
 
 
Research Brief | Improving the efficiency of tax collection in Tanzania – evidence from risk-based tax examinations
 
Risk-based approaches are becoming commonplace for tax authorities as a tool for enforcement. Improvements in technology, technological adoption and in some cases machine learning, hold great promise for finding the taxpayers who are most likely to avoid taxes, thus improving the detection of non-compliant taxpayers.
Read more
 
 
TECHNICAL NOTE
Imputation methods for adjusting SOUTHMOD input data to income losses due to the COVID-19 crisis
This note sets out two different methods on how to adjust incomes in the microdata underlying the standard SOUTHMOD models to reflect a sudden shock, in this case the COVID-19 shock, as done in the accompanying working paper by Lastunen et al. (2021).
Read more
TECHNICAL NOTE
Top income adjustments and tax reforms in Ecuador: an application of ECUAMOD
This technical note has been produced alongside a WIDER working paper assessing the effects on income inequality and income tax simulations of adjusting top incomes of employees in survey data based on administrative tax records in Ecuador.
Read more
TECHNICAL NOTE
Unemployment insurance and income protection in Ecuador: an application of ECUAMOD
This note has been produced alongside a WIDER working paper assessing the effect of the Unemployment Insurance benefit on income protection in Ecuador. The aim of this note is to describe the methodology used to assess the effect of the Unemployment Insurance through the simulation of transitions from work to unemployment.
Read more
 
 
TECHNICAL NOTE
Exploring the quality of income data in two South African household surveys which underpin SAMOD
This note has set out several data processes that have been undertaken using the income data in dataset(s) that underpin SAMOD. Section 1 describes various data-cleaning steps that were undertaken when preparing the LCS 2014/15 as an underpinning dataset for SAMOD.
Read more
TECHNICAL NOTE
Integration of indirect taxation to GHAMOD
This note, with emphasis on VAT and excise taxes, illustrates how indirect taxes are modelled in the context of GHAMOD, a tax-benefit microsimulation model for Ghana. GHAMOD is similar to the EUROMOD base platform, and its built-in Statistics Presenter Tool supports simple analyses of ex-ante policy (reform) on distributional outcomes.
Read more
TECHNICAL NOTE
Full-year adjustment for modelling COVID-19 policies in SOUTHMOD tax-benefit microsimulation models
This technical note presents a modelling approach used in Lastunen et al. (2021) where tax and benefit policies are scaled to reflect their actual duration during a single calendar year. It can be applied to tax-benefit microsimulation models implemented in the EUROMOD software. The method is particularly useful when evaluating the impact of discretionary policy measures adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more
 
 
Opportunities
 
Vacancy | Administrative Assistant
 
UNU-WIDER is looking for a professional Administration Team Assistant to provide front-desk and administrative services to our Helsinki office. Closing date: 19 December 2021
Read more
 
 
Request for Research Proposals | Social protection, taxation, and crises
 
UNU-WIDER is seeking proposals for original research on social protection and taxation in times of crises in developing countries. Proposals from individuals (or groups of individuals) as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Submission deadline: 31 January 2022, 23:59 UTC+2
Read more
 
 
Request for Research Proposals | Economic Transformation Database
 
UNU-WIDER is seeking proposals for original research on the Economic Transformation Database (ETD) project. Proposals from individuals (or groups of individuals) as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Submission deadline: 31 January 2022, 23:59 UTC+2
Read more
 
 
Call for Papers | IEA-WIDER joint panels at the 2022 WIDER Development Conference in Bogota
The IEA and UNU-WIDER will co-host two joint sessions during the 2022 WIDER Development Conference, to be held (on-site) in Bogota, Colombia, on October 5-7, 2022, in partnership with UNIANDES. 
Read more
 
 
Events
 
 
IGM Annual Conference 2021 – the economic impacts of COVID-19 in Mozambique and future perspectives
24 November 2021
 
The global COVID-19 pandemic has had severe economic impacts on countries across the world, plunging GDP growth and leaving many countries struggling with high unemployment rates. This is particularly pronounced in countries with limited fiscal space to take on the unprecedented health and socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic.
Read more
 
 
 
Carlos Gradín at the UN-ESCAP Expert Group Meetings on Building Forward Fairer
3 December 2021
 
Carlos Gradín presents key results from two WIDER Working Papers at the expert group meetings which inform UN-ESCAP's 2022 flagship report. The papers analyse data on inequality from the World Income Inequality Database (WIID) and the new WIID Companions —datasets hosted by UNU-WIDER.
Read more
 
 
 
COVID-19 impact and policy response across Indian States
2-3 December 2021
 
The researchers under this component of The state and statebuilding in the Global South – international and local interactions project meet to discuss ongoing research on 'COVID-19 and the state —comparative experiences in the Global South'.
Read more
 
 
 
Subnational governance in Ghana – does decentralization improve democratic outcomes?
13-14 December 2021
 
UNU-WIDER researchers in The state and statebuilding in the Global South — international and local interactions project attend an authors’ workshop at the London School of Economics. Over two days, the chapter authors will share their draft work and receive feedback.
Read more
 
 
 
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