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PhD candidate in Economics (f/m) - Ref: 22-39

Campus Belval , 11, Porte des Sciences, L - 4366 Esch-Sur-Alzette , Luxembourg

The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) 

is recruiting a

PhD candidate in Economics (f/m)


  • Ref 22-39

  • Fixed-term working contract at LISER for 36 months (extendable up to 48 months maximum)

  • Full time, 40 hours/week

  • FNR-funded CORE project on the UNconditional Social ASSistance and Unemployment Benefits (UNSASSUB)

  • Registration in the PhD program at UCLouvain (Belgium)

  • Start date: between March 1st and September 1st, 2023

  • Deadline for application: until the position is filled


LISER invites highly qualified and motivated applicants for the position of PhD candidate in the Living Conditions Department. The PhD candidate will work under the supervision of Prof. François Maniquet, who is coordinating the UNconditional Social ASSistance and Unemployment Benefits (UNSASSUB) CORE project.

The successful candidate is expected to attend the PhD program at the department of economics at UCLouvain, including taking courses and fulfilling the required doctoral training. This means that the candidate will have to split his/her time between LISER and UCLouvain. The doctoral research will contribute to the research goals of the UNSASSUB project.


Description of the UNSASSUB project

It is customary in political and academic debates to criticize European welfare states based on their inability to meet new challenges linked to inequality, globalization, or technological changes. Among the many proposals that are currently on the table to reform welfare states, one is receiving a lot of attention: lifting the current conditions that social assistance beneficiaries or unemployed workers must fulfil to be eligible to these transfers. Such a reform is often called the universal basic income proposal. The two main conditions are: 1) be ready to take a job when one becomes available and 2) not live with a wealthy partner. Surprisingly, economists are not well equipped to address the question of the consequence of removing these conditions, as both theoretical and empirical works are mistakenly assuming full take up of these benefits. We address this shortcoming, by proposing to redefine social welfare when account is taken of these conditions and by re-estimating behavioral responses to changes in taxation under the correct assumption that these two conditions currently prevail. The expected outcomes are the calibration of the social welfare maximizing national tax systems in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the UK, the simulation of the impact of conditionality reforms on the distribution of welfare in these countries, and the identification of desirable fiscal reforms consistent with the new definition of social welfare. The five countries are chosen because of their large heterogeneity in the way they tax low incomes.


Your Role

The successful candidate will be asked to fill her/his doctoral training, to write a doctoral dissertation and to participate in the scientific, dissemination, and administrative activities linked to the UNSASSUB project and to the Living Conditions Department. More precisely:

  • With regard to the doctoral training: fill the requirements as stated on https://uclouvain.be/en/faculties/espo/esl/ph-d-esl.html

  • With regard to the writing of the doctoral dissertation, it should take the shape of a collection of independent papers that should each be in the process of being submitted to international, peer-reviewed, journals:

    • Produce policy research reports and policy briefs;

    • Communicate results to stakeholders within and outside academia;

    • Assist other members of the DTU in promotion and communication activities;

    • Engage in fundraising activities at national and/or international level by contributing to the writing and submission of proposals.

  • With regard to activities in the frame of the Living Condition Department:

    • Participate in research activities;

    • Help in the organization of scientific activities;

    • Offer limited research assistance services to the promotors of UNSASSUB.

We offer

  • An exciting multi-disciplinary and international research environment with ample opportunities to exchange with scholars from related disciplines at LISER;

  • A work contract with full social security coverage at LISER;

  • A competitive salary for the full-time PhD position for a period of maximum of 4 consecutive years;

  • A generous annual training budget.

Your profile

  • Master degree in Economics, or an equivalent training;

  • Previous research in social choice theory, optimal taxation, estimation of labor supply or microsimulation is a plus;

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are required. The institute provides courses for researchers interested in learning other languages, especially French, which is the second most widely spoken language in the Centre.


LISER particularly encourages female researchers to apply.


About LISER

LISER is a publicly funded research institute located in Luxembourg and dedicated to applied empirical research in economic, social and spatial sciences. The Institute hosts three departments (Living Conditions, Labour Market, and Urban Development and Mobility) as well as a Data Management Unit that coordinates the collection of a wide range of survey data on households and individuals. Beyond its established departments, the Institute invests in several interdisciplinary research fields.

The Institute attracts top researchers from all over the world and high-level student training is a vibrant part of the Institute’s activities. The Institute‘s staff consists of about 180 employees, more than 50% of the staff being researchers, mainly from the fields of economics, sociology, and geography (see www.liser.lu). The working languages at the institute are French and English.

The Institute is located on the Belval campus in the south of Luxembourg, which hosts the University of Luxembourg and a substantial part of the country’s publicly funded research facilities, i.e. LISER, the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) cross-national data centre, the Luxembourg Institutes of Health (LIH) and of Science and Technology (LIST). The University has outstanding high-performance computing facilities available for use by associated researchers in the Luxembourg Institutes. Information for foreign researchers interested in Luxembourg research is accessible via the national EURAXESS platform.

About Luxembourg

Luxembourg with its > 600,000 inhabitants is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and provides a stimulating mixture of modern culture and tradition. Contemporary urbanity of its capital lies in close vicinity to a rich nature. In addition to excellent health, education (public, private and high level international schools) and recreational services, the community affords a rich variety of cultural activities typical of a major university environment, including museums, music, art and theatre. Luxembourg is a multi-lingual nation. Besides the official languages (French, German and Luxemburgish), English, Italian and Portuguese are spoken frequently.


Application process

Please submit the following documents via https://jobs.liser.lu/jobs :

  1. A Curriculum Vitae;

  2. A motivation letter presenting your relevant skills with respect to the project and how you plan to contribute to it;

  3. A copy of your relevant diplomas;

  4. Transcripts of the Master grades;

  5. Two reference letters (to be uploaded with the application documents or sent separately to recruitment@liser.lu), quoting the above reference number of the position 22-39)

Closing date for applications: when the position is filled.

Expected start date: no later than September 1st, 2023.

Would you have any question on the position or for project-related information, please contact Prof. François Maniquet (francois.maniquet@uclouvain.be).

For administrative matters, please contact recruitment@liser.lu


LISER is an Equal Opportunity Employer