UNU-WIDER Launches a Free Online Training Course in Tax-Benefit Microsimulation for Global South Countries: Enroll Now!!

In an innovative step toward democratizing access to advanced policy analysis tools, UNU-WIDER releases a comprehensive online training course on tax-benefit microsimulation modelling for policy analysis. The course teaches analysts and researchers to use the SOUTHMOD model family, tailored specifically for the Global South countries represented. 

SOUTHMOD leverages the EUROMOD modelling platform to offer a freely accessible resource to broaden the understanding and application of microsimulation in policymaking contexts. The tax-benefit microsimulation models maintained by UNU-WIDER’s SOUTHMOD project enable users to estimate the day-after impacts of changes to national tax or benefit policies on the budget, poverty rates, and inequality levels. SOUTHMOD is one part of the Domestic Revenue Mobilization programme at UNU-WIDER.

Breaking new ground in policy analysis training

Historically, model training under the SOUTHMOD project has been delivered through in-person workshops in countries covered by the programme. These targeted sessions primarily reach national citizens working in government or academic institutions. 

UNU-WIDER’s online course expands access to these analytical tools and makes the models and related training accessible to a much broader audience. The course is available for free to anyone interested. While it is specifically designed for users who are new to microsimulation, it also offers a neat way for intermediate users to refresh their knowledge.

Who stands to benefit?

The online course is designed with a focus on individuals based in the Global South, including students, researchers, government employees, and professionals at international organizations and think tanks. It aims to serve those interested in examining the impacts of tax and social protection policies on poverty, inequality, and governmental budgets. 

The course requires no previous knowledge of microsimulation, making it an ideal starting point for newcomers to the field, while also providing an opportunity for those with intermediate skills to refine their understanding. Upon successful completion, participants will receive a SOUTHMOD training certificate, recognizing their understanding and skills in microsimulation modelling.

Deep dive into microsimulation over 10 compact course modules

The course features 10 modules that cover a range of topics from basic concepts to more advanced applications of tax-benefit microsimulation. It combines video lectures—including sessions led by AI-powered avatars—multiple-choice quizzes, and practical modelling exercises. Participants are expected to engage with the material for approximately 8–12 hours, culminating in a deep understanding of the application of microsimulation in Global South contexts.

To take the course, students will simply need to register, download the latest version of the EUROMOD software, watch the course videos, and complete the exercises. They will also obtain access to DEVMOD, a synthetic training model used during the course that resembles real SOUTHMOD models.

What will I learn by taking the course?

The course offers an introductory pathway into the world of policy analysis using SOUTHMOD models, with DEVMOD serving as the primary training tool. 

Participants start with an overview of the SOUTHMOD project and the basics of tax-benefit modelling in a Global South context. Among other topics, the course covers the structure of SOUTHMOD models, the questions they aim to answer, and their strengths and limitations compared to other modelling techniques. 

Participants are also provided with access to a wealth of supplementary materials and resources.

As the course progresses, it delves into more specific topics like input datasets used by the models, policies that are required for model setup, the construction of tax-benefit policies, and the operational details of functions and parameters that make up each policy. 
This exploration culminates in practical exercises where students model and evaluate tax-benefit policy reforms using detailed instructions.

Skills for policy analysis and planning

By engaging in the videos and exercises, participants not only grasp the theoretical underpinnings of tax-benefit modelling but also acquire hands-on experience in using the models for impactful policy analysis.

The course is therefore expected to prepare the participants for a range of professional applications in evaluating policies and reforms.

The SOUTHMOD online training course represents an important step forward in making microsimulation tools more widely available and accessible. It reflects UNU-WIDER’s commitment to enhancing the capacity for policy analysis in the Global South, thereby contributing to more informed and effective policymaking.

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