UNU-WIDER Winter School on tax policy research

UNU-WIDER is launching a Winter School on tax policy research. The aim of the course is to provide African researchers with an understanding of the theories, methods, and data availability for conducting high quality analysis on tax and development economics. The course will take place in two parts during the period 31 May - 16 July 2022. The deadline for applications is 18 March 2022 23:59 UTC+2.

Part one of the course is a 3-day online Stata and Statistics bootcamp to be held 31 May – 2 June 2022. Part two is an in-person course for one week, co-hosted with the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa during 11-16 July 2022.

The Winter School is part of UNU-WIDER's programme on Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM). It is organized by the Building up efficient and fair tax systems – lessons based on administrative tax data project.

The Winter School will provide participants with a toolkit in applied public economics with special focus on the quantitative analysis of tax and public economics in developing countries. Part one will provide participants with a basic understanding of how to use Stata for data analysis and understanding statistical concepts in economics. During part two of the Winter school, participants will take part in lectures given by leading experts from UNU-WIDER’s global network and work intensively in the computer lab to strengthen their quantitative research skills.

Beyond providing a methodological toolkit using practical examples, one of the main aims of this course is to sensitize participants to the key factors that make up policy relevant research. This may include innovativeness and the ability to make causal claims.

Topics that will be addressed during the course include:
1) Taxation and development: A developing country perspective
2) Tax incidence and excess burden: Theory and empirics 
3) Tax evasion and enforcement
4) Optimal taxation and redistribution 
5) International taxation

The course will include several researchers from UNU-WIDER — Jukka Pirttilä, Pia Rattenhuber, Amina Ebrahim — and has confirmed participation of other outstanding researchers in the field:

  • Michael Keen, Deputy Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department 
  • Nadine Riedel, Director of the Institute for Public and Regional Economics at the University of Münster and editor-in-chief of International Tax and Public Finance
  • Mazhar Waseem, Associate Professor of Economics at the Manchester University, Editor at Policy Watch (ITAX), and Research Associate at the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS)
  • Ada Jansen, Associate Professor at the Stellenbosch University

Beyond providing state-of-the-art methods in empirical analyses adapted to the context of developing countries, the course aims at improving the ability to produce research to support policymaking.

To facilitate this, all applicants are requested, when applying for the course, to submit a recommendation letter from their workplace. The course will also support creating South-South links sharing similar interests in other countries.

Applications are now open, learn more here.

Deadline for applications is 18 March 2022 23:59 UTC+2.

Selection criteria

The applicant must be a researcher or an analyst that has shown ability and interest to conduct policy-driven research on African economies. Candidates should be fluent in oral and written English and possess good quantitative analytical skills. Application is open to researchers from ministries, revenue authorities, other government agencies, universities, and research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa. Applications from suitably qualified early-career female researchers are particularly encouraged. Course certificates will be issued to participants who join a minimum of 80% of the lectures and practical sessions in both parts of the course.

Financial assistance

UNU-WIDER will provide successful applicants with a travel grant to cover costs of travel to and from the home institution, accommodation, and most meals during the stay in Cape Town. Backoffice support will also be available to obtain an entry visa to South Africa.

Application procedure

UNU-WIDER only receives online applications for the UNU-WIDER Winter School. Deadline for submission of applications is 18 March 2022 23:59 UTC+2 via this link.

Please take note that the following documents are required when submitting your application:

  • CV
  • A motivational letter
  • A one-page originally written Stata code sample
  • Letter of recommendation. This document must be submitted by its signatory to winterschool@wider.unu.edu before 18 March 2022 and you must provide her/his name in the application

Shortlisted candidates may be requested to take a short test on their quantitative skills (Stata coding, interpretation of regression results etc.). This will take place online. 

Selected applicants will be informed by e-mail of the final decision within two weeks of the closing deadline. The selected applicants must confirm their decision to take up the offer within two weeks of being contacted.

Please note we do not accept applications received by email or post.


If you have questions about the course or experience any problems with the online application, please contact us at the following email address: winterschool@wider.unu.edu.

Please note that replies may take up to three working days.