Our work in 2019-2023 – creating, strengthening, and sharing knowledge for development
Over the period 2019–23 UNU-WIDER research will focus on the interlinked development challenges of transforming economies, states, and societies. These transformations are central to the achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three key concerns will be integrated throughout the research programme — fragility and risk, empowerment, knowledge and capacity.
UNU-WIDER will mobilize research evidence for action through the ongoing processes in the UN and its member states. The institute continues to work with stakeholders to strengthen capacities for research, technical, and policy analysis, and facilitating the exchange of experiences and knowledge between countries and regions.
Transforming economies – at the core of any meaningful development strategy
This research theme is based on continuing need for large-scale changes in the structure of economic activity and employment opportunities, which must take place if absolute poverty is to be reduced alongside addressing economic and social inequalities. Economic transformation is also needed to deliver higher levels of income and market activity that are critically needed to improve the mobilization of domestic resources and establish a larger tax basis.
Research projects under this theme will include work on informality, productive job creation, especially in achieving gender equality and poverty reduction, and the opportunities but also challenges inherent in today’s global economy.
Transforming states – capable states are a precondition of achieving the SDGs
Capable and effective states are needed to work with the private sector to achieve higher and more environmentally sustainable rates of economic growth — via transformation of the economy’s structure. At the same time, the state has a key role to play in providing necessary public goods and in shaping the transformation of societies in ways that yield greater empowerment through proactive policies to help reduce marginalization of the poor and achieve greater gender equality.
Research in this theme will look at questions of public expenditure, tax incidence across income group and enterprise type, market failures and ways to correct or compensate for them (e.g., in financial products available to the poor) and in the management of natural resource wealth which now increasingly interacts with the climate change agenda (a dimension of risk and fragility).
Transforming societies - a complex task for every level of the polity
Societal transformation is, on the one hand, an outcome of strategy and policy choices. On the other hand, the characteristics of societies frame and impact on socioeconomic development as well. Increasing the capacities, resources, and confidence of individuals and their communities is a means to achieve the end of poverty and reduce gender and broader social inequalities. This is now a pressing concern in many societies, especially when high inequality is politically destabilizing — increasing state fragility — as well as hindering the transformation of economies.
Specific topics to be covered under this theme include empowerment (as a means to achieve social goals including the analysis and capacity strengthening for using instruments of empowerment and measuring and quantifying social goals), the role of social capital, migration, both internal and across borders.
129 active and previous projects
Current programmeCapable states – building the foundations for achieving SDGs Capable states Economic growth Clientelism
Current programmeWomen's work - routes to economic and social empowerment Women's economic empowerment Female labour force participation Gender equality
Current programmeSocial mobility in the global south - concepts, measures, and determinants Social mobility intergenerational inequality equality of opportunity
Current programmeTransforming livelihoods in the informal sector Informality Self-employment Poverty
Current programmeVarieties of structural transformation - macro drivers, wage inequality, and labour market outcomes Structural transformation Inclusive growth Inequality
2018-192018 Nordic conference on development economics
The conference aims at bringing together Nordic and international scholars for the exchange of ideas and discussion of recent results within theoretical and applied development economics research.
TransformationAsian transformations - an inquiry into the development of nations Asia Economic transformation Cross-country analysis
TransformationTowards inclusive development in Myanmar Inclusive growth Economic reform Industrial policy
TransformationNatural resources, structural change, and industrial development in Africa
This project focuses on three specific areas that impact the pace of structural transformation and job creation in five emerging African natural resources economies: Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.Natural resources Africa Extractive industries
2016-17Conference on Human capital and growth
Human capital has been identified not only as a key determinant of growth and poverty alleviation, but as critical for human development. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and now the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have...
2016-17Conference on Responding to crises
The ‘Responding to crises’ conference aimed to improve knowledge about ongoing, unexpected, and future crises, and to discuss the options available for responses by governments, international agencies, NGOs, civil society and private...
TransformationGovernment Revenue Dataset
The most recent version of the Government Revenue Dataset - released in September 2018 - is open and free to use. The primary data file (core dataset) is available for download in two formats and can be downloaded below.