On 24-25 June 2020, 41 participants from six different time zones gathered for a two-day virtual SOUTHMOD workshop to discuss the future of the tax-benefit microsimulation models. The aim of the event was to provide an opportunity for the national teams to share the lessons learnt in the process of building and developing the country-specific models, and to plan future initiatives together.
The focus of this year’s SOUTHMOD workshop, besides introducing the recent research studies making use of the models, was to share insights on the COVID-19 situation in the respective countries. This builds up the basis for the analysis to be done later this year using SOUTHMOD models for assessing distributional effects of COVID-19.
In addition to participants from the eight SOUTHMOD model countries (Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Viet Nam, and Zambia) and the senior partners based at the University of Essex and SASPRI, this year’s workshop included the INDOMOD working group which maintains the tax-benefit microsimulation model for Indonesia, and the co-ordinators of the LATINMOD project that built in 2018 the first set of cross-country comparable models for Latin America. These models are based at the same EUROMOD platform as the SOUTHMOD models and hence provide synergies with the development of the models in the future.
The plan for this year in terms of the SOUTHMOD model development is to update the policies and data waves of the existing models if available, and to run the annual training courses in person or virtually depending on the country’s situation.