UKMOD: a new, free-to-use, tax-and-benefit microsimulation model for the UK

Tax-benefit microsimulation models are used to answer “what if” questions about the effects of tax and benefit reforms on household incomes and the income distribution. Such analysis is regularly performed for Budget and other Government policy announcements and is also highly relevant for the design of alternative reforms and new policy instruments.

Via generous funding from the Nuffield Foundation, ISER is adapting, extending and enhancing the UK component of the EU microsimulation model, EUROMOD, in order to meet the demand for tax-benefit modelling capacity in the UK and to promote its use more widely as a way to improve the evidence base to better inform current policy debates.

The extended UK model will be called UKMOD.

UKMOD will always include the latest tax-benefit policies – that is, those in place – and will also model future policy systems based on announced reforms and income projections. As part of the model’s enhancement, Universal Credit will be fully implemented, including an option for modelling non take-up. Separate policy systems for each of the UK’s constituent nations will allow the user to focus on Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England, as well as the UK as a whole.

Each year, an up-to-date and fully-documented version of UKMOD will be released ahead of the Budget.

The first public release of the model will be 30 September 2019 and will be followed up by two training opportunities in October 2019.

A 2-day course will be aimed at new or potential users of UKMOD, with a 1-day event aimed at more experienced users (including those who have previously attended a UKMOD or EUROMOD training event). The latter will focus on the enhancements made to the model – and the new features included – as part of the first UKMOD release.

The project has also expanded its microsite at euromod.ac.uk/uk to include more information on the planned release timetable of UKMOD, as well as adding a range of resources for users. This site will continue to grow.

A key feature of the site is the inclusion of two new introductory videos.

These short videos explain the purpose of tax-benefit microsimulation in a non-technical way and explore the uses to which UKMOD can be put.

Read Professor Mike Brewer’s blog piece on UKMOD here.

Photo credit: Anthony Cullen