The LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg (LIS), and the
Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) invite applications for

a Fellowship in the Memory of Tony Atkinson

(LIS)²ER Research Associate (Post-doc, m/f)

Ref: LISER 2019-07

Full-time/40 hours per week, based at LIS and LISER

Fixed-term contract 2 years

Starting ideally on 1 September 2019, not later than 1 January 2020

The position arises from a joint LIS-LISER initiative to develop a collaborative institutional project and within this collaboration, to award a fellowship in memory of Tony Atkinson who was a long-term close collaborator of both Centers in Luxembourg.

Your Role

The successful candidate will be the principal investigator of the (LIS)2ER project, under supervision of senior researchers from LIS and LISER. The research associate will be tasked to :

  • Develop the (LIS)2ER project described hereafter;
  • Develop a distinctive research profile during the time at LIS-LISER;
  • Interact with the LIS and LISER researchers and participate in project meetings;
  • Disseminate results through scientific publications and reports;
  • Attend scientific conferences and workshops ;
  • Contribute to the submission of research proposals.

(LIS)2ER Project Framework

The objective is to develop a new data-driven knowledge base about policies to fight inequalities and to deepen our understanding of ‘what works’ in reducing inequalities, building upon almost 40 years of household data from middle-income and rich countries collected in the LIS Data Center.

The structure of LIS data has at its core the exploitation of variations across countries and over time to describe and explore the roots of income and wealth inequality and poverty. One can look at policy variations through the same lenses: different countries pursue different policy goals with alternative policy instruments, and government turnover leads to changes in policy objectives and implementations over time within the same country. However, while there is a large literature describing patterns of inequality which takes a cross-country analysis of time variation, there is much less research on variations in policy packages (welfare policies, tax policies, labour market regulation, educational policies) and on their impact of inequality and poverty. One of main reason lies in the absence of appropriate, consistently defined and comparable indicators of the policy stance with respect to specific dimensions. Measuring the institutional framework prevailing in a country over a specific time interval is a notably difficult task: institutions are “slow” variables and policy changes are “rare” events (one observes relevant reforms, say in employment protection legislation, every 5-10 years); the legal framework does not necessarily correspond to the actual practices in the market (the so-called difference between the “law in books” and the “law in practice” as exemplified by the varying take-up rate in anti-poverty policies); institutions evolve in swarm, because there are institutional complementarities. It is also difficult to make “measurements” of policy frameworks amenable to empirical research. The (LIS)2ER initiative therefore proposes to address these fundamental measurement difficulties “from the household data up” exploiting the richness of the LIS: policy portfolios in place in different countries and different times will be “reverse engineered” by examining the distribution of market incomes, taxes and benefits observed in the data. Thanks to the detailed disaggregation of taxes and subsidies contributing to the transformation of market gross incomes into disposable incomes, it is possible to reconstruct different policies attitudes prevailing in different periods of time and/or in different countries. The accompanying documentation (made available through METIS) allows a researcher to understand which are the legal basis (and possibly the rationale) for alternative policy options chosen by different governments. The current structure of the LIS Database, covering a large array of countries over a long time span allows for studying the policy stances over the following domains:

  • taxation (progressivity, income pooling, deductibility);
  • unemployment subsidization;
  • social assistance;
  • pension provision;
  • family benefits.

The constructed policy frameworks will be validated by examination of existing institutional data and/or by interviewing national experts reached through the network of LIS users. Ultimately, the project will therefore deliver a robust, validated knowledge base of comparable policy indicators, with a longitudinal structure, offering policy variations both over time and across countries. This dataset will then be used on LIS and/or any other dataset for impact analysis of policy changes onto several social dimensions: education, labour market participation, employment, household formation, fertility, retirement, poverty, social exclusion, health, well-being, happiness, to quote the most obvious ones.

Your Profile

Ph.D. in Social Sciences (Economics, Sociology, Political sciences or other relevant discipline);

Expertise in income/wealth inequality and poverty, as well as knowledge of cross-country policy differences (welfare policies, labour market regulation, educational policies);

Extensive experience in quantitative research;

Fluency in English (speaking and writing).

We offer

Personal workspace (this project requires to work on the Institutes’ premises located in the same building);

Stimulating work environment;

Resources for the participation to international meetings.

Application process

Candidates should provide:

(1) a full CV

(2) a short description of a research programme preferably in relation with the LIS(^2)ER framework (2 pages max)

(3) two letters of reference (to be uploaded with the application documents or sent to

(4) a sample of 1 or 2 research papers

Please apply online through our online system:

Deadline for application: 21st May 2019

Copies of relevant academic transcripts will be requested at some point during the selection process. All correspondence should be in English. Early application is encouraged as the applications are processed upon reception.

For administrative information, please contact:

LIS and LISER are equal opportunity employers.

July 28, 2017 | Ignore on home