The deadline for applications is 11:59 pm EDT on Sunday, May 6, 2018.
Through the Democracy Fellows and Grants (DFG) Program, the Institute of International Education (IIE) seeks applications from qualified individuals for a part-time Democracy Fellow position to review, evaluate, and summarize findings from existing literature on the relationships between citizens and government as mediated by taxation.
The part-time Fellow will be hired as an IIE consultant with a detailed scope of work and deliverables. The Fellow will work between 90 and 100 days over an eight-month period. The proposed start date for the fellowship is June 2018.
Responsibilities and Deliverables
- The Part-time Fellow for Taxation and Governance will produce the following deliverables: (1) a literature review of 30-50 pages; (2) a two-page executive summary of the findings; (3) a one- to two-page page infographic or blog post that illustrates the main findings as they apply to development; and (4) a presentation of the draft report at USAID headquarters in Washington, DC. In addition, if time allows, the Fellow may be asked to conduct research or provide a similar literature review on one or more additional questions during the course of the fellowship.
- The Fellow will be expected to interact regularly with the Learning Division at the DRG Center to ensure that objectives are met according to the specified timelines and that the deliverables match the Learning Division requirements.
- The literature review will comprise two components. The first component is a synthesized overview and evaluation of the existing empirical research on taxation, political participation, and accountability with respect to the three research questions listed below. While the organizational scheme is left to the discretion of the researcher, the literature review should critically analyze the existing research in a unified framework. It should describe the methods, findings, and context of relevant studies and, where applicable, discuss how they relate to each other. More importantly, the review should evaluate the strengths, limitations, and divergent findings of the existing research while illuminating both general and specific challenges to answering the research questions. This will help set the stage for the second component, as discussed below.
- The second component (and final section of the literature review) is a list of concrete recommendations for future research that would add value to the existing scholarship by addressing empirical gaps and refining existing theory. This section should mirror a concluding section in an academic journal article that speaks to improving the body of knowledge on the questions of interest. However, it should be written for an audience involved in development policy and programming.
- The division of time dedicated to these two components should be roughly 70% (first component) and 30% (second component).
The research questions to be addressed in the literature review are presented below:
- Evaluate the literature on experimental interventions that have aimed to increase tax collection. What has worked and what has not? What are the reasons posited for success or failure?
- What does the research tell us is the relationship between tax collection and political participation or engagement with the state? Note that these concepts have been operationalized in a variety of ways. The review should evaluate the different approaches. For example, participation and engagement with the state have been assessed using various proxy measures including attendance at local (town hall) meetings, contributions to suggestion boxes, rate of contact with MPs, monitoring, anti-incumbent political action, and willingness to punish corrupt leaders.
- What does the research tell us is the relationship between tax collection and government accountability? Accountability has been operationalized and measured using proxies such as levels of actual corruption and public goods provision. The review should evaluate the different approaches. Linking to Question 2 above, one potential causal pathway to examine is whether increased tax collection leads to increased participation, which in turn leads to greater accountability.
- Evaluate the secondary literature on this topic to address the question of how taxation has contributed to state-building, historically, and how taxation contributes to state-building in contemporary poor/developing countries. As part of the review, evaluate the different approaches to conceptualizing and operationalizing state-building/capacity and how authors have tracked developments over time vis-à-vis taxation.
- The review should be rigorous, yet accessible to policymakers and development practitioners who may or may not have technical expertise in research methods and econometrics. Regardless of background, readers should be able to easily understand the content so that they can potentially apply the findings to future USAID programming.
Scope conditions and priorities
- The research questions are formulated in non-causal language to allow for the inclusion of studies that make both associational and causal claims. However, the literature review should prioritize studies that make serious attempts at causal inference. These include strong peer-reviewed publications and working or job market papers employing experimental methods (e.g., randomized controlled trials, lab-in-the-field experiments).
- These are of first-order importance in the review. Of second-order importance are research designs that take advantage of “natural” experiments or plausibly exogenous variation, which approximate as-if random assignment. Note that there are fewer peer-reviewed publications because most of the experimental work on this topic has occurred in the last five years.
Supervision and Guidance
- The Fellow will serve as a part-time member of the Learning Division of the DRG Center and will be managed on a day-to-day basis by the Division Chief. The Fellow is expected to exercise the highest degree of individual initiative, resourcefulness, responsibility, judgment, and scholarly authority consonant with the overall policy and procedural framework of USAID.
- The Fellow will be an IIE consultant and will report for administrative purposes to the Director of the Democracy Fellows and Grants (DFG) Program.
- The Fellow can be based in the United States or abroad. The fellow will need to travel to Washington, DC, to present his/her findings in one feedback session/workshop with IIE/USAID.
Duration of the position
- The appointment is for a total of approximately 90 to 100 days (including travel days) over the course of eight (8) months.
- The daily rate for the part-time Fellow will be commensurate with the candidate’s salary/rate history.
Qualifications and Skills
- A PhD or advanced ABD in political science or economics is required.
- Excellent English writing skills are required.
- Knowledge of taxation and governance in developing countries is required.
- Competence in experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental research designs and survey research, including statistical skills to interpret the results of field experiments and public opinion surveys is required.
- A record of publication in peer-reviewed, academic journals is preferred.
- Knowledge of USAID programming is preferred.
- Preference will be given to applicants who have participated in experimental interventions such as those that are planned or underway for EGAP’s Metaketa II: Taxation initiative
To apply, please send the following application materials to email@example.com before the application deadline:
- DF Universal Application
- DFG Personal Statement
- Writing sample required. An article published in a peer-reviewed, academic journal is preferred.
External Links for more information
- For examples of past research projects conducted under the DFG Program, please see: https://www.iie.org/en/Programs/USAID-Democracy-Fellows-and-Grants-Program/Research
- For more on the DRG Center and Learning Division activities, see:
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