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Public policies, poverty and inequality: a discussion based on tax-benefit microsimulation models

How does the government know what public policies are going to work? How to know which households will benefit from changes in taxes and benefits? Governments around the world need tools to understand the effect that their policies have on people’s welfare.

Researchers at Universidad Externado de Colombia and the University of Essex have developed a new model of taxes and benefits to contribute to the discussion of Colombian public policies and their effect on poverty and inequality.

EUROMOD training course

The next training course providing a hands-on introduction to the use of EUROMOD will be held in ISER, Essex University on 20-22 March 2019.

The aim of the course is to provide academics, policy practitioners and other interested users with an introduction to the concepts, structure and functioning of EUROMOD. EUROMOD is a state-of-the art tax-benefit microsimulation model linking micro-data from household surveys and policy legislation in a single user interface. It allows for complex policy impact analysis, such as evaluations of policy reforms in terms of poverty, inequality, work incentives and government budgets, assessments of EU-wide policies or estimation of the impact of changing population characteristics on the redistributive effect of existing policies.EUROMOD covers all 28 EU Member States.

The course will cover the basics of tax-benefit microsimulation, the logic and structure behind EUROMOD, working with EUROMOD’s user interface, input data, EUROMOD’s modelling ‘language’ and using documentation. The course combines lectures with live demonstrations of the model. Participants also have the opportunity to carry out a number of hands-on exercises to test and refine their understanding of the model.

If you are interested in attending or would like more information, please complete this application form. The closing date for applications is 13 January 2019. All candidates will be informed whether their applications have been accepted by 24 January 2019.

Professor Peter Lynn on BBC Radio 4 More or Less

Our Professor of Survey Methodology discussed the recent survey of views on the Holocaust and the methods used to assess levels of Holocaust denial in the British population

Living in a state of flux: How pay insecurity affects the choices and living standards of low income families

The nature of employment is changing. Secure, life-long employment is increasingly replaced by various forms of insecure work: temporary, zero-hours contracts, bogus self-employment, and the gig economy. The number of contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours rose to 1.8 million while some five million workers are self-employed, many working in the ‘gig economy’. Even for workers on standard contracts pay can vary significantly due to bonuses, commission pay, shift work or overtime.

While pay volatility is not necessarily bad, we know from previous research that most people prefer income stability and the ability to budget and plan their finances ahead. Low earners are particularly likely to be negatively affected. They are both more likely to experience pay volatility and less likely to have savings that would allow them to cope with adverse income shocks. The safety net plays an important role by compensating workers when their pay temporarily falls. But certain features such as waiting times and badly timed assessment periods can also exacerbate income volatility.

Has pay insecurity increased recently? How do people on low incomes cope with it? Can the government reduce pay and income insecurity? What role do employment and welfare policies play in addressing pay insecurity? These and other related questions will be addressed at an event hosted by the Nuffield Foundation. Researchers from the University of Essex, University of Oxford and the Resolution Foundation will present their work on pay insecurity followed by a panel discussion.

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