Independently conduct macroeconomic analysis of selected policy scenarios in Asia-Pacific economies using the ESCAP model – This includes designing policy scenarios in consultation with the national counterparts and UN country teams, calibrating the model, and conducting impact assessment to provide evidence-based policy analysis to the MPFD and national stakeholders. Examples of possible modelling scenarios include estimating the impacts of introducing a carbon tax, assessing debt sustainability under different financing conditions, or quantifying the social returns of establishing universal healthcare coverage.
Draft professional reports on the policy implications of macroeconomic modelling – Based on the country level macroeconomic model, the consultant will draft policy reports detailing the national context, the simulations results and their implications for the achievement of the SDGs as well as policy recommendations to national governments and other stakeholders. This includes preparing summary tables, graphs, and other inputs, as needed, for ESCAP publications such as the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, working papers and policy briefs.
Provide macroeconomic modelling training to national government officials. The consultant is expected to conduct multi-day technical trainings for selected government officials on how to execute the models in the EViews software.
The mandate of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is to promote sustainable and inclusive development and regional connectivity in the Asian and Pacific region. ESCAP's role as a regional development arm of the United Nations Secretariat is to support its membership with policy-oriented research and analysis, normative support and technical assistance and capacity building, to respond to the development priorities and changing needs of the Asian and Pacific region.
This position is located in the Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development division (MPFD) of ESCAP. The MPFD provides a combination of normative-analytical and capacity-development activities to 53 member States and 9 associate members of ESCAP, taking into account the significant variation in their geographic, demographic, and socio-economic conditions. The Division undertakes analytical studies and policy-oriented research, provides capacity building, and facilitates policy dialogues on medium- to long-term macroeconomic and financing for development issues facing the region.
In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Decade of Action to accelerate efforts to deliver the SDGs by 2030, while the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (Survey) 2019 estimated that additional SDG investment needs are unlikely to be within reach for many Asia-Pacific countries. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic,the region was already facing a tension between rising public indebtedness and the need to mobilize additional fiscal resources. Driven by large stimulus packages and declining government revenues, the pandemic further pushed up the region’s public indebtedness. More recently, the war in Ukraine is increasing inflation worldwide, resulting in an earlier- than-expected unwinding of monetary policy support and increases in interest rates.
In this context, a rigorous assessment is needed to determine whether public debt remains sustainable. The current approach to assess public debt sustainability, as carried out by the IMF and the World Bank, relies on a country’s fiscal plan, assumptions on key macroeconomic variables, and standardized stress tests. Recommendations have been made to properly consider issues such as multidimensional vulnerability faced by some countries, large public investment needs to achieve the SDGs and national climate ambitions, and increased linkages with the global economy, such as increasing exposure to disruptions in global value chains and volatile commodity prices.
Against this background, MPFD has recently proposed an ‘augmented’ approach to assess public debt sustainability in the Survey 2023 that duly incorporates a country’s SDG investment needs and the socioeconomic and environmental gains of these investments, government’s structural policies that go beyond financial considerations, and national SDG financing strategies. This approach is implemented based on the ESAP Macroeconomic Model for Sustainable Development that was introduced in 2020 and used for quantitative analyses in the Survey 2021. The model enables an assessment of the social and environmental impacts of public policies, beyond the merely economic and fiscal impacts.
To translate this policy research on public debt sustainability into capacity building for member States, MPFD is implementing a technical assistance project titled “An augmented public debt sustainability analysis in developing Asia-Pacific countries”, with an aim to enhance the capacity of beneficiary countries in integrating socioeconomic and environmental issues into public debt sustainability analysis.
The ESCAP Macroeconomic Model for Sustainable Development runs within the EViews software and is fully global in scope. It comprises 46 individual full country models for the Asia and Pacific region, smaller models of 9 key trading partners outside of the region, plus aggregate models for the remaining countries grouped into 4 regions. These individual models are linked together via trade, remittances and financial markets, as well as global carbon emissions and energy markets.
The model structure is designed to assess the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of a variety of policy scenarios such as establishing a universal social protection floor and universal health coverage; delivering affordable and clean energy; investing in energy efficiency gains; building climate resilient infrastructure; strengthening biodiversity; and closing the digital divide by investing in ICT and education. It can also be used to assess debt sustainability under different financing assumptions and the potential feedback of rising debt on risk premia.
Master’s degree or above (or equivalent experience) in economics, macroeconomics, econometrics, finance or related areas.