ISER researchers, led by Professor Holly Sutherland, will play a key role in a new United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)-funded project – SOUTHMOD: The Economics and Politics of Taxation and Social Protection – a research and development project based on our successful tax-benefit microsimulation model EUROMOD. EUROMOD is funded by the European Commission and is a complex model which allows researchers to model the impact of tax and benefit changes in 28 EU member states, allowing analysis at a country level and for cross-country comparison. EUROMOD is now used widely by policy makers to track the potential impact of tax or benefit policy changes on people’s lives.
Working alongside South African Social Policy Insights (SASPRI), members of the EUROMOD team at ISER have begun work on the ambitious project which will build tax-benefit microsimulation models, based on the EUROMOD platform, for a selection of developing countries. These models will collectively be known as SOUTHMOD.
The main focus of the project will be on Africa where microsimulation models will be constructed for Ghana, Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. These new models will complement existing models for South Africa (SAMOD) and Namibia (NAMOD), which are also based on EUROMOD and have been put together by SASPRI. To provide further comparability, a model will be built for one country from Latin America (Ecuador) and initial scoping for one country from Asia (Vietnam) will be undertaken.
In producing these new microsimulation models, the project aims to shed fresh light on the system-wide impacts of social protection and tax systems in these countries, providing the analytical tools for policy makers and researchers alike to understand the current tax-benefit systems and to be able to simulate the impacts of policy changes – real and potential.
Whilst oversight of SOUTHMOD remains with UNU-WIDER, ISER and SASPRI, engaging local teams of model developers in each country is critical to the project’s success. In addition to providing the technical platform for these models in the form of EUROMOD software and tools, ISER’s role is to support the Ghanaian and Ethiopian teams. ISER staff will also be involved in the training of all local developers, in producing new tools and software add-ons for analysing income distributions, and for the construction of the model in Ecuador.
The project runs from 1 December 2015 until 31 January 2017 and involves ISER’s Holly Sutherland, Olga Rastrigina, Chrysa Leventi, Iva Tasseva, Sanja Vujackov, Xavier Jara and Kostas Manios.