Exploring impact and response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean using mobility data

August 24, 2020

Call for research proposals

Deadline: September 4, 2020


The UNDP Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean has an alliance with GRANDATA to make anonymous mobility data available to researchers and policy-makers, who can use it to understand dimensions of the socio-economic effects of the pandemic and help shape policy response in the region.

In order to promote a collective reflection on issues that will be critical for policy reform towards more equal, more productive and more resilient societies we put forth this call for research proposals that will combine our mobility data with other geo-referenced data available at the country-level to explore questions falling under the general umbrella of the “socio-economic impact and policy response assessments of COVID-19”.

UNDP will provide the selected proposals with country-level datasets containing granular information about the number of times individuals left their homes before and after the global outbreak was declared, which can be used to measure the level of compliance with social distancing obligations, social outing frequencies and the areas where individual outings were concentrated or took place. For more information about the mobility data please see covid.grandata.com/methodology.

Examples of the questions we are interested in exploring:

  • Is lower compliance with quarantines and lockdowns associated to higher mortality rates in the poorer neighborhoods?
  • Has police force deployment been able to enforce compliance with restrictions to mobility imposed by local governments and, if not, what other household or neighborhood characteristics explain their lack of effectiveness?
  • Have transfers to households been successful in containing mobility? Have in-kind transfers and cash transfers been equally successful?
  • Can mobility patterns be associated to access to health and/or public services?
  • Is higher compliance with quarantines and lockdowns associated to increased domestic violence?

We are welcoming proposals for the set of countries for which the mobility data is available: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, México, Paraguay, Perú and Uruguay.

Papers resulting from this initiative that comply with our minimum quality standards will be published in the UNDP LAC COVID-19 Policy Documents Series and their findings used as inputs for the UNDP Regional Human Development Report 2020. Authorship will be cited and property rights of the authors for later publication in other outlets respected.

A selection committee composed by Adriana Camacho, Santiago Levy and Ana María Tribín will be in charge of reading and selecting the winning proposals.

Proposals submission

Proposals should be submitted by email to policyresponse.lac@undp.org

Proposal should not exceed 5 pages in length. They should include a brief description of your research project specyfing (1) the research question(s) you will address; (2) the empirical literature identified, on which your research will be building; (3) the geo-referenced data you will use in combination with the UNDP LAC-Grandata mobility data; (4) the methodological approach you propose to follow; and (5) the expected contribution of new knowledge.

CVs of the participating authors must be included in the submission as an attachement.

Note that only proposals using geo-referenced data to which the authors can secure access by September 14 will be considered. Proposals using geo-referenced data already in hand at the time of the submission will be preferred.

Timeline of the project

  • September 4, 2020: deadline for submission.
  • September 11, 2020: winning proposals selected and datasets shared with authors.
  • November 13: due date for first draft.
  • December 18: due date for final draft, after incorporating feedback from UNDP LAC.

[1] If you have questions about the mobility dataset for your country, please contact martin.montenegro@undp.org.