Country Advisers

Organization: Overseas Development Institute
Closing date: 17 Sep 2018

The Centre for Tax Analysis in Developing Countries (TAXDEV)

Background

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has recently completed a two-year pilot phase of the Centre for Tax Analysis in Developing Countries (TAXDEV).

TAXDEV works with partner governments in low- and middle-income countries to co-produce modelling tools, conduct applied analysis of key tax and transfer policy and administration issues, and provide technical support to the development of evidence-based policymaking.

In collaboration with partners and a network of academics, the programme also generates high quality, rigorous research on taxation in low and middle-income countries more broadly.

During the pilot phase, country programmes were successfully established in Ethiopia and Ghana. For Phase II of TAXDEV, the IFS and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) are partnering to scale up the programme – expanding to two additional countries over a period of four years.

Complementary to our applied work with partners, Phase II will also involve further developing a research agenda around the following 4 themes: i) tax incidence, redistribution and social protection; ii) the impact of tax systems on economic behaviour; iii) tax administration and enforcement; and iv) opportunities and constraints to using evidence in the tax policymaking process.

About the role(s)

ODI is seeking applications for two Country Adviser roles.

These roles will involve developing partnerships and working effectively with analysts and policymakers in Ministries of Finance and Revenue Authorities in TAXDEV’s newly-established partner countries. They will combine the opportunity to conduct applied, policy-relevant analysis, be involved in rigorous research projects, and work with partners to embed new analytical and dissemination processes.

The roles will be based in Sub-Saharan Africa: the new partner countries will be confirmed during the inception phase. There are two positions to be filled. We expect to fill the first position by October 2018, with the Country Adviser contributing to the inception phase of the project, with in-country posting to follow in January 2019. We expect to fill the second position in December 2019, with in-country posting to follow in January 2019.

The main partners will be the Ministries of Finance and Revenue Authorities in partner countries, but the Advisers may also be expected to work with officials and policy makers across other government institutions.

The Advisers will report to a London-based Country Programme Manager (CPM) and receive training and support from the cross-country IFS and ODI teams prior to, and throughout, their posting.

Main Duties

Research Management

  • Work with CPMs to build strong relationships with government partners and help to identify policy and research questions;
  • Map the legislative and administrative frameworks governing tax and transfer policies in partner countries, and keep up-to-date with policy developments;
  • Conduct in-depth data scoping activities, draft and establish data sharing arrangements between the IFS, ODI and government institutions and establish systems for formatting, cleaning and processing data for analytical purposes;
  • Plan, manage and undertake high quality applied analytical projects, and develop tools with support from the cross-country IFS and ODI research teams. This will involve working with government partners to determine the appropriate methods, identify potential data sources, conduct analysis, interpret findings and draft reports and policy briefings. In Phase I researchers built two tax and transfer microsimulation models, and developed a methodology for costing tax policies. It is expected that these activities will be expanded and extended in Phase II;
  • Support partners to respond to questions from policy makers using analytical tools within the time constraints of the budget process, and develop systems and processes to ensure that routine analysis can be conducted efficiently and accurately;
  • Liaise actively with IFS and ODI researchers and academics, and identify opportunities for joint research projects.

Project management

  • Work with partners, CPMs and researchers to develop realistic and implementable project plans and ensure that all project activities progress according partner and donor timelines;
  • Work with partners, CPMs and researchers to develop and manage the negotiation of research deliverables, work plans and budgets for data collection agencies and sub-contractors (if required).

Training

  • Work with partners and CPMs to identify training and professional development needs and objectives, and develop a structured training programme to respond to these needs;
  • Work with partners, CPMs and researchers to organise and deliver training workshops and study tours;
  • Work with partners, CPMs and researchers to develop training manuals that can be used for the continuous improvement of analytical tools and for broader publication on the IFS and ODI websites.

Dissemination and impact

  • Coordinate project communication, liaison and engagement activities in partner countries and work with partners and IFS and ODI researchers to communicate analytical methods and disseminate research findings.
  • Contribute to the organisation of conferences, workshops, and dissemination events.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience

  • A Master’s degree in economics, applied public policy, or a relevant social science subject;
  • At least 3 years of experience in research and public policy or international development. Other relevant experience will also be considered;
  • An interest in the economic analysis of public finance and development issues, and a strong motivation to bridge the gap between academic research and issues of practical policy design or evaluation;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to work effectively with wide range of stakeholders, including government partners and researchers;
  • The ability to effectively manage complex project, including outlining project objectives, planning work in a structured and systematic manner in alignment with the stated objectives, assessing progress and making changes to project plans to reflect changing timelines and realities;
  • The ability to work proactively and on own initiative, draw on support from a wide network, and share insights with a broader team of researchers;
  • Outstanding economic reasoning skills;
  • Outstanding quantitative and numeracy skills, including knowledge of mathematical and statistical techniques used in applied public economics and policy analysis;
  • Excellent data management and processing skills – including knowledge of MS Excel, and STATA;
  • Well-developed writing skills, including the ability to explain complex economic ideas in plain language;
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines;
  • A willingness to maintain the highest standards of intellectual rigour and objectivity;
  • Previous experience of working in a low- or middle-income country.

Desirable

  • Previous experience of working in a tax policy unit or revenue administration;
  • Previous experience of working on donor-funded tax reform technical assistance projects in low- or middle-income country;
  • Knowledge of other relevant statistical software packages and programming languages.

Contract Details

Contract type: Consultancy contract; rates to be agreed depending on experience.

Personal Data Disclaimer

ODI will manage this recruitment process but CVs and cover letters may be shared with staff at IFS and ODI as both institutions will be involved in the interview process. Details of the IFS’s privacy policy can be found here.

How to apply:

Application process

Interested candidates should submit a CV and a (maximum) 2-page covering letter outlining how your qualifications, skills and experience match those outlined above to Richard Hughes (r.hughes@odi.org.uk) at the ODI.

Please use the email subject line ‘**TAXDEV II – Country Adviser Application**’.

The deadline for applications is Monday 17th September 2018

The interview date is still to be confirmed, but will be scheduled for late September/ early October.

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