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
InclusionThe political economy of social protection systems Taxation Social protection Income distribution
InclusionThe politics of group-based inequalities - measurement, implications, and possibilities for change Inclusion Inequality Horizontal inequality
InclusionDiscrimination and affirmative action - what have we learnt so far? Discrimination Class Inequality
TransformationInclusive growth in Mozambique - scaling-up research and capacity Mozambique Employment generation Industrial policy
SustainabilityThe political economy of clean energy transitions Sustainable energy Climate change mitigation Political economy
InclusionThe economics and politics of taxation and social protection Tax Social protection Political economy
InclusionDisadvantaged groups and social mobility
This project has three main objectives in line with UNU-WIDER’s tradition in the area of inclusion and horizontal inequality: (1) to shed further light on the extent to which inequalities run along ethnic, gender, and other communal lines; (2...Disadvantaged groups Social mobility Group-based inequality
TransformationUnderstanding the African lions - growth traps and opportunities in six dominant African economies Africa Labour market Growth
TransformationRegional growth and development in Southern Africa South Africa Regional integration Industrialization
InclusionGender and development
Substantial progress toward gender equality and women’s empowerment has occurred over the past four decades, but key gaps, both in opportunity and capability, persist between males and females in all countries. This project focuses on...Gender equality
TransformationDevelopment policy and practice: competing paradigms and approaches
This project uses UNU-WIDER’s high level of convening power – its ability to mobilize senior figures in the development policy debate from different paradigms – and its ability to stand aside from the fashions and pressures of the...Development aid development policy
TransformationMacro-economic management (M-EM)
This project explores how macroeconomics of development is evolving; what the policy priorities are as the global economy undergoes transformation (with more countries moving from low- to middle- income status); the impact of global economic...Macroeconomics Income distribution Inflation (Finance)
InclusionThe growth-employment-poverty nexus in Latin America in the 2000s
Latin America in the 2000s witnessed an unprecedented period of growth with poverty and inequality reduction. Latin America also suffered from the economic crises in Europe and the United States from 2007/08 onwards. The questions asked in this...Economic growth Economic development Labour market