Request for research proposals
World Income Inequality Database

UNU-WIDER is seeking to commission research papers from researchers working in inequality, income distribution, welfare, and related fields who would like to contribute to the World Income Inequality Database project. Submission deadline: 31 October 2021, 23:59 UTC+2.

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) is requesting research proposals on the World Income Inequality Database (WIID) project. Proposals for original research that speak to the core themes of this project and offer strong empirical, methodological, or theoretical contributions will be considered.

There is a growing need to understand income inequality trends and how they interplay with other social, economic, and political outcomes, both at the country level and worldwide. Despite significant progress during the last decades in improving the availability of data to study inequalities, substantial constraints still limit our ability to conduct consistent cross-country comparisons and analyses of long-term trends of income distributions.

This project aims to better understand inequality — how it varies, why it varies, and what the implications of this might be — and to offer new frameworks that provide insight into how to address it. It maps empirical patterns and trends in inequalities and builds our understanding of inequality as both an outcome and a causal variable.

UNU-WIDER has contributed to this important task by hosting and updating the World Income Inequality Database (WIID), which includes all of the main survey-based data on income distributions which is available for most countries. We seek to encourage research extensively using the WIID and its companion datasets to provide novel insights on key questions related to various topics, including (but not limited to):

  • Empirical and theoretical analyses of the drivers of economic inequality trends and patterns globally, as well as in specific regions or countries.
  • The impact of economic inequality levels, trends, and patterns on other relevant socioeconomic outcomes (wellbeing, labour market, conflict, governance, welfare state, trade, etc.).
  • New methods that help to better understand the income distribution, as well as its causes or its implications, whether at the country or global levels.
  • Innovative proposals to improve the quality and quantity of information in the WIID, alone or in combination with other data, to make the most of the limited survey-based data on income distributions to more accurately conduct distributive analyses.

We seek to commission research papers from researchers working in inequality, income distribution, welfare, and related fields who would like to contribute to the project. As part of the project, researchers will be asked to take part in a workshop tentatively scheduled for June 2022. Researchers may also be invited to present their research at a WIDER Development Conference on inequality to take place tentatively in October 2022.

Offer and expectations

UNU-WIDER invites proposals from qualified researchers for papers examining inequality broadly. Following formal acceptance and initial publication in the WIDER Working Papers Series, the aim is that these papers will be published in high-quality journals or books in economics, political science, development studies, or related fields. The papers must be written in English and should be around 10,000 words maximum (inclusive of text, tables, figures, boxes, footnotes, references, etc.).

One author from each successful proposal is expected to attend an online project workshop in June 2022 (exact date TBD). Authors may also be invited to attend a WIDER Development Conference on inequality in October 2022, which is tentatively planned to be held in Bogota, Colombia, to present their research there (exact date and location TBD).

Proposals from individuals (or groups of individuals) as well as non-profit organizations are welcome. Applications from women and developing country researchers are particularly encouraged.

Read the full announcement for more information.

Dates (Eastern European Time – EET)
31 August 2021 Publication of request for research proposals
15 October 2021 Final opportunity for questions on the request for research proposals
31 October 2021 Proposal submission deadline
21 November 2021 Target date for informing on decisions
21 May 2022 Target date for submission of first drafts of papers
June 2022 Online project workshop (exact date TBD)
21 September 2022 Target date for submission of final papers
October 2022 WIDER Development Conference on inequality (invited papers)
Proposal submission details

Submission of proposals is done electronically by using the online application form on this page (links in sidebar). 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.

Any questions on the proposal process should be sent to by 15 October 2021. All queries and responses will be published on this page and they will be updated on a rolling basis.