UNU-WIDER Summer School in collaboration with DPRU-UCT on labour markets and economic development

The course will take place in Cape Town during 18-29 November 2019. The aim of the training is to provide early-career scholars in the Global South with an understanding of the theories, methods and data availability for conducting high-quality analysis of applied labour economics. Deadline for application is 31 May 23:59 UTC+3.

UNU-WIDER, in collaboration with the Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) at University of Cape Town (UCT), is launching a new, two-week intensive summer school on applied labour economics. The course will take place in Cape Town during 18-29 November 2019. The aim of the training is to provide early-career scholars in the Global South with further training on the theories, methods and data issues for conducting high-quality analysis of applied labour economics. Deadline for application is 31 May 23:59 UTC+3.

Course outline and objective

The Summer School will provide participants with a toolkit in applied economics with special focus on the quantitative analysis of labour markets in developing countries. During the two weeks, participants will take part in lectures given by leading experts from UNU-WIDER’s global network and work intensively in the data lab to strengthen 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 high-impact publications (including innovativeness, ability to make causal claims/deal with issues of endogeneity, and policy relevance, amongst others).

Topics that will be addressed during the course include:

  1. Fundamentals in labour market economics for development: concepts and definitions
  2. Theories of labour markets in developing countries: segmented markets, policies and institutions
  3. Inequality, poverty, and employment: main statistics, regression-based decomposition techniques
  4. Labour statistics: data sources, quality, core indicators
  5. Applied econometric methods for causal identification:
    • quasi-experimental (propensity score matching, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity design, difference-in-differences)
    • experimental: randomized control trial, lab-in-the-field
  6. Analysis of employment transitions using panel data.

The course will include several researchers from UNU-WIDER — Kunal Sen, Carlos Gradín, Maria Lo Bue, Simone Schotte — and has confirmed participation of other outstanding researchers in the field:

  • Gary Fields, John P. Windmuller Professor of International and Comparative Labor, and Professor of Economics at Cornell University, 2014 winner of the IZA Prize in Labor Economics
  • Sergio Firpo, Instituto Unibanco Professor of Economics, at Insper Institute of Education and Research
  • Costanza Biavaschi, Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Patrizio Piraino, Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town

By providing state-of-the-art methods in empirical analyses adapted to the context of developing countries, the Summer School aims at improving the ability of researchers to have their papers published in well-recognized international journals. To facilitate this, all applicants are requested when applying for the course to submit a preliminary research proposal, which they will work on and elaborate during the course with an assigned mentor.

Selection criteria

Applicants must be an early-career researcher and have shown ability to conduct research on developing economies. Applications from PhD candidates who are about to complete the dissertation will also be considered. Candidates should be fluent in oral and written English and possess good quantitative analytical skills. Application is open to researchers from universities and research institutes in Africa and other developing countries in Latin America and Asia. Applications from suitably qualified early-career female researchers are particularly encouraged.

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 receive online applications for the UNU-WIDER Summer School. Deadline for submission of applications is 31 May 23:59 UTC+3 via the 'Apply here' link on the left side column.

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

  • CV
  • A research study you have (co-)authored (preferably published)
  • Letter of recommendation. This document must be submitted by its signatory to before 1 June and you must provide her/his name in the application
  • A short research proposal that you would be able to concretize during the two-week course

The research proposals cannot not exceed 1,500 words and must include: (1) the title of the proposed paper; (2) the main research questions and/or hypotheses; (3) the research methods to be applied; (4) data; and (5) key references.

Shortlisted candidates will 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 email of the final decision within six 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 receive applications by email or post.


If you have questions about the course or you experience any problems with the online application, please contact us at the following email address:

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