Request for research proposals
Analysis on firms and taxation using micro data from Uganda

UNU-WIDER and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) are requesting research proposals, taking advantage of the URA firm panel, that will improve the understanding of the impacts of taxation on firms in the Global South. Researchers with successful proposals will gain access to the anonymized data in the secure research lab located in URA, Kampala, Uganda, premises. Proposals from individuals (or groups of individuals) as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Submission deadline: 27 June 2022, 23:59 UTC+3.

See full Request for Research Proposals (pdf)

Background

Firms play a crucial role for development through investment, employment, and the formalization of the economy. Thus, especially in the developing world, there is a need for a deeper understanding of the impacts of taxation on firms. Moreover, research and tax analysis using administrative data can help in designing better tax policies and administrative measures as well as to identify loopholes in the tax systems. Yet, micro-level research especially from the Global South is limited and a large amount of tax data remains underutilized. 

This Request for Research Proposals is part of the UNU-WIDER project Building up efficient and fair tax systems – lessons based on administrative tax data. The project aims to provide knowledge for better policy-making and inclusive development using administrative data. As part of this project, URA and UNU-WIDER have constructed the URA firm panel from administrative corporate income tax (CIT) returns and firm registration data for the financial years 2013/14–2019/20.

The URA firm panel covers the full population of CIT-paying firms in Uganda, and it contains over 300 variables which allow the researcher to study, for example, firms’ balance sheets, debt structure, capital investments and tax liabilities. The data captures information from the Income Tax Return Form for Non-Individual which can be downloaded from URA's website (Download forms -> Download manual forms -> Domestic taxes -> Returns forms). The data is described in more detail in McNabb et al. 2022.

URA and UNU-WIDER invite research proposals from qualified researchers to conduct economic research with the URA firm panel. The specific objectives of this request for research proposals are:

  1. To obtain policy-relevant research findings on the impact of tax incentives and non-tax incentives on investment, value-added, job creation, capital/labour intensity and growth.
  2. To obtain policy-relevant research findings on the determinants of productivity, investment, employment, profitability and output by different firms with different characteristics (including size, sector, ownership, degree of competition faced, age, past behaviour, and skills makeup). 
  3. To obtain economic analyses that could improve policy-makers’ insights on issues pertinent to base erosion and profit-shifting.
  4. To obtain economic analysis to give insight on the impact of corporate tax policies on tax revenue
Offer

Researchers with successful proposals will gain access to otherwise restricted firm-level data based on corporate income tax filing located at the Uganda Revenue Authority. This URA firm panel is described in detail in McNabb et al. 2022

Researchers with successful proposals can access the anonymized data in the secure research lab located in URA, Kampala, Uganda, premises. For data security, the researchers cannot access the internet when using the research lab computers. Research lab assistants will provide help in extracting research outputs, such as figures and summary tables of the results, and guide in the use of the research lab.

Proposals from individuals (or groups of individuals), as well as non-profit organizations, are welcome. Applications from female and developing country researchers are particularly encouraged. Proposals may address one or more of the research questions.

Read the full announcement for more information.

Timeline
19 May 2022 Launch of request for research proposals
20 June 2022 Final opportunity to send questions on the request for research proposals
27 June 2022 Proposal submission deadline
22 July 2022 Target date for informing on funding decisions
29 July 2022 Target date for researchers to be granted initial access to data

31 August 2022

Target date for the completion of necessary administrative procedures
15 November 2022 Target date for the submission of first drafts of paper with preliminary results
January / February 2023 Target date for work-in-progress workshop
30 April 2023 Target date for submission of near-final draft papers and a 1-2 page non-technical summary of key findings
August 2023 Target date for final dissemination seminar
Proposal submission procedure
  1. The proposal should be no more than five pages of A4 paper in length, excluding cover page and references. Please use 12-point font, 1.5 line spacing, and standard margins. The proposal should clearly state the research objectives, study design and methods, data sources, and policy relevance. The cover page should contain the complete contact information of the researcher(s), and a 150–200-word proposal abstract summarizing the research question, main methods, data, and expected contribution to the policy debate.
  2. Submission of proposals is made electronically by using the online form on the Request for Research Proposal announcement page. There are three forms to select from: one for individuals, another for groups of individuals, and a third for non-profit organizations. Details (such as an address, gender, nationality, date of birth) of all researchers involved are required to be entered into the form, and the cover page, the proposal, and brief CVs (five pages or less) of the researcher(s) uploaded. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the form in advance.
  3. Submission of a budget is not required for the proposal.
  4. Any questions on the proposal process should be sent to researchproposal6@wider.unu.edu by 20 June 2022. Selected queries and responses will be published on the Request for Research Proposals announcement page on a rolling basis.