10 Dec 21 | News

LISER researchers win 2020 Miriam Hederman O’Brien Prize

Denisa M. Sologon and Iryna Kyzyma were recognised for their work on modelling the distributional impact of the COVID-19 crisis

Congratulations to LISER researchers Denisa M. Sologon  and Iryna Kyzyma who won the 2020 Miriam Herderman O’Brien Prize. Together with co-authors Cathal O'Donoghue (NUI Galway) and John McHale (NUI Galway) they were recognised by the Foundation for Fiscal Studies (Ireland) for their outstanding contribution made to understand the distributional implications of the COVID-19 crisis and the policy responses in Ireland.

The article “Modelling the Distributional Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis” (open access here), published in the Fiscal Studies, was innovative in developing a microsimulation-nowcasting approach using publicly available data to help understand and predict the income distribution implications of the COVID-19 emergency in “near-real” time.

Denisa and Iryna have also piloted this work also in Luxembourg forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Inequality (Working Paper access here).

The nature of the policy responses differed between Luxemburg and Ireland, as the capacity of these welfare systems to cushion consequences of COVID-19 largely depend on their design. Whereas Ireland introduced radically different policies from its existing system, Luxembourg introduced minor tweaks to the existing tax-benefit system, which already contained strong social insurance instruments that gave certainty during the crisis.

One of the key lessons is the resilience of the Luxembourgish system, its capacity to move swiftly by minor changes in exiting policy instruments able to cope with the shock.

“The timely analysis of the likely effects across the income distribution at the early stages in the Covid-19 emergency demonstrates the value of the Microsimulation-Nowcasting framework in modelling the impact of the emergency in “near-real” time. The model is a real-time analysis and decision support tool to monitor the recovery, with high applicability to policy makers. Models that can capture the complexities of real world systems, while swiftly incorporating the latest available data –whether epidemiological or economic –should be important aids for navigating through this devastating health, economic and social emergency.”

- Denisa M. Sologon

“We would like to acknowledge the innovations by public servants in developing the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Wage Subsidies so quickly to protect people's incomes and to the transparency in which information was provided to the public. It made our work possible.”

- Iryna Kyzyma

More about Miriam Hederman O’Brien prize

The Miriam Hederman O’Brien prize is awarded by the Foundation for Fiscal Studies in association with The Irish Times to recognise outstanding work in the area of Irish fiscal policy. The aim of the prize is to promote the study and discussion of matters relating to fiscal, economic and social policy, particularly among new contributors to these fields, and to reward those who demonstrate exceptional research promise. The prize forms an important part of the Foundation’s overall objective of promoting more widely the study and discussion of matters relating to fiscal, economic and social policy.

More about Denisa M. Sologon and Iryna Kyzyma

Denisa M. Sologon is a Senior Research Economist at the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER). She received her PhD in Economics in 2010 from Maastricht University, funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship. Her research programme involves quantitative approaches to welfare economics, in particular income inequality, income distribution dynamics, taxation, social policy and social protection, social mobility, environmental policy and health. Her main interests are in the development and application of policy microsimulation models and the quantitative analysis of large data sources (administrative, survey) to aid the design, evaluation and improvement of public policy.

Iryna Kyzyma is a research associate in Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research and a research affiliate at the IZA Bonn. She obtained her doctoral degree in Economics from the University of Bremen in December 2015 and worked as a researcher in the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW Mannheim) until June 2017. Iryna’s research interests fall in the fields of income distribution and redistribution, poverty dynamics, income and health inequalities, and intergenerational mobility.