Request for research proposals
Statebuilding in conflict-affected contexts: The role of taxation
We are requesting research proposals for a new project called Statebuilding in conflict-affected contexts: The role of taxation. This project is a part of Phase II of the Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM) programme, which is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Proposals for original research that speaks to the core themes of this project and offer strong empirical or theoretical contributions will be considered.
Despite a growing policy focus on statebuilding processes in countries affected by armed violence today, there has been very limited research on the links between taxation, revenue mobilization, conflict dynamics, and statebuilding in these contexts. The main purpose of this project is to address this gap by advancing knowledge about the determinants and sustainability of statebuilding processes in conflict-affected countries through the lens of taxation.
Taxation is a useful lens to understand the processes of statebuilding because fiscal capacity and the ability to provide public goods and services is central to how states are able to function. Taxation, including formal, informal, and extra-legal methods, provide valuable insights into how political actors govern territories, form relationships with local populations and businesses, fund war efforts, and sustain political order during wartime. These are crucial factors for understanding the post-conflict transition of armed groups or incumbent governments to organizations capable of providing public goods, mobilizing legitimate revenue, building bureaucracies, and sustaining peace.
The project will explore new questions about the types of tax and revenue systems established by different state and non-state actors in wartime. The project also investigates the relationship of tax and revenue systems with governance and political order during conflict. A third important aspect is the implications of these systems for institutional trajectories and processes of state formation and state capacity after conflict. To better understand these transition processes, this project proposes a new research agenda that will advance theoretical and empirical knowledge in the following areas:
- How does taxation shape the nature of political order during conflict? What explains the use of formal and informal taxation by state and non-state armed groups during conflict? How do these forms of formal, informal, and extra-legal taxation translate into expenditures by armed groups on social services, security and financing war strategies? What kinds of social, economic, or political roles does taxation play in these settings? What is the impact on local communities and local (legal and illegal) economies and markets?
- How and why does the use of formal, informal, and extra-legal taxation differ across territories, populations, businesses, and within armed groups in wartime and the immediate post-conflict period? Who is taxed, how, how much, why, and what are taxes used for? What factors explain this variation?
- What are the policy implications of these forms of formal, informal, and extra-legal taxation on processes of state formation and the capacity of state institutions in the aftermath of armed conflicts to raise revenues and uphold the social contract through public expenditures?
We seek proposals from researchers working on conflict analysis, statebuilding, peacebuilding, taxation or other related fields who would like to contribute to the project. We are particularly interested in papers with a strong empirical contribution on the relationship between taxation and conflict and implications for statebuilding in conflict-affected contexts, but also welcome strong theoretical contributions with relevance to this area of research. We are particularly interested in new research in Africa and Asia, but also welcome work on other regions.
Offer and expectations
UNU-WIDER invites proposals from qualified researchers for papers examining the relationship between taxation and conflict and implications for statebuilding in conflict-affected contexts. The aim is that these papers will be included in a book proposal or published in high-quality journals in economics, political science, development studies, or related fields after publication in the WIDER Working Paper series. The papers need to be written in English and should be limited to 10,000 words maximum (inclusive of text, tables, figures, footnotes, references).
Proposals from individuals (or groups of individuals) as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Applications from women, early career researchers, and researchers from the Global South are particularly encouraged.
Read the full announcement for more information.
|1 February 2024
|Launch of request for research proposals
|15 March 2024
|Final opportunity for questions on the request for research proposals
|30 March 2024
|Proposal submission deadline
|20 April 2024
|Target date for informing on decisions
|15 November 2024
|Target date for submission of first drafts of papers
|Project workshop (exact venue and date TBD)
|15 June 2025
|Target date for submission of final papers
Proposal submission details
- Proposals for papers authored by one or multiple scholars will be considered. The proposal shall include: (1) an up-to-date CV for each author; and (2) an extended abstract of 500–1500 words that summarizes the research question, data, and proposed methods for the analysis in sufficient detail to warrant an evaluation.
- Submission of proposals is done electronically by using the online application form on the RFRP 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 address, gender, nationality, date of birth) of all researchers involved are to be entered onto the form. Please familiarize yourself with the form in advance.
- Submission of a budget is not required for the proposal.
- Any questions on the proposal process should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 March 2024. All queries and responses will be published on the announcement page. Selected answers will be updated on a rolling basis.