Research Fellow P-2

UNU-WIDER is looking for an outstanding individual with strong commitment and potential to support 'Building up efficient and fair tax systems – lessons based on administrative tax data' -project. Closing date: 3 August 2021, 23:59 UTC+3
About UN University

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United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

UNU-WIDER is a leading international development economics think tank. The Institute provides economic analysis and policy advice with the aim of promoting sustainable and equitable development for all. The Institute began operations in 1985 in Helsinki, Finland, as the first research centre of the United Nations University. Today, it is a unique blend of think tank, research institute, and UN agency — providing a range of services from policy advice to governments, as well as freely available original research. More information on UNU-WIDER and its current work programme are available on the Institute's website.

UNU-WIDER is looking for an outstanding individual with strong commitment and potential to support:

Building up efficient and fair tax systems – lessons based on administrative tax data

The goal of the project is to generate fresh evidence on the impacts of tax systems on private sector growth, employment, and investments on the basis of administrative tax data from participating developing countries. Another thrust of the research project is to examine tax compliance and the impact of tax systems on avoidance and evasion. The project is primarily empirical, combining the analysis of large datasets and the use of modern econometric tools. A substantial element of the work is capacity building; for example, providing guidance for developing country researchers and policy makers as well as conducting joint research with them.


Under the overall supervision of the Director, who may delegate this responsibility to other staff, the general responsibilities of the Research Fellow are to:

  • Contribute effectively to the implementation of the tax project within the institute’s work on domestic resource mobilization (DRM).
  • Lead the identification of research questions and contribute towards enhanced policy uptake of research.
  • Conduct high-quality research on taxation.
  • Supervise more junior researchers and contracted work on tax economics using large administrative datasets.
  • Be responsible for project management duties in the scope of research and capacity-building partnerships, mainly with developing country partners.
  • Manage the organization of administrative tax data jointly with developing country partners.
  • Contribute to and co-ordinate capacity-building efforts in developing countries, including teaching, and advising.
  • Carry out more general teaching, training, and supervision tasks within the capacity-building programme of UNU-WIDER, including guidance of junior researchers and PhD students.
  • Contribute to communications and dissemination activities for UNU-WIDER’s target audiences.
  • Perform any other tasks as assigned by the Director.
Required qualifications and experience
  • PhD degree in economics, development economics, or a related discipline and extensive knowledge of tax and development issues are required; candidates close to completion of their PhD degree will also be considered.
  • Progressively responsible relevant postgraduate work experience. Proven track record in econometric analysis is required.
  • Experience in project management as well as in leading large dataset preparation and curation work is required. Prior experience in building and running a data lab is desirable.
  • Experience in capacity building with developing countries partners is required.
  • Excellent drafting skills and fluency in both oral and written English; knowledge of French, Portuguese, Spanish, or Arabic would be an asset.
  • Excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and ability to work independently in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Readiness to travel internationally, including extended stays in developing countries when collaborating with local partners.

UNU offers an attractive, tax exempt compensation package including an annual net salary at P-2 level and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy. For more information please see:

Duration of contract

This is a full-time fixed-term appointment. The initial appointment will be for one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance.
For academic positions, the combined duration of fixed-term appointments with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

Expected start date: As soon as possible.

Application procedure

Interested applicants must submit their application online through Impactpool and upload the following documents:

  • a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
  • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form downloadable from the UNU website. Please do not use similar forms provided by other United Nations organizations
  • a list of publications
  • an up-to-date CV
  • a copy of the highest educational degree obtaine

Only upload documents as requested. Applications submitted with additional documents e.g., letters of reference may be disqualified.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks and references.

Special notice

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the Rector's authority. They may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organization. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are encouraged to apply.

UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

Information about UNU rosters

UNU reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience, and educational requirements.

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