Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Principal or Co-Principal Investigator, Social Wealth Index

Posted: 7/16/2020 (Employment)

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

July 14, 2020

Part-time Position:

Principal or Co-Principal Investigator to Develop the Social Wealth Index

Introduction: The Center for Partnership Studies (CPS), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, seeks an experienced, part-time principal investigator (PI) or Co-PI to work with an existing expert team to develop the Social Wealth Index (SWI). The SWI will be a numerical index that tracks the status of a humane, environmentally sustainable and successful post-industrial and post-Covid 19 economy, using both Care Investment Indicators (CII) and Human Capacity Indicators (HCI). This work will consolidate, update, and expand metrics earlier developed by CPS, as reported in Social Wealth Indicators: A New System for Evaluating Economic Prosperity (2014). It will provide the basis for demonstrating the relationship between valuing and rewarding care work and a better life for all. This work will also provide recommendations for where new data collection is necessary.

1. Project and Requirements

Present economic systems have privileged domination and extraction, ignoring the economic value of caring for people and nature. The Center for Partnership Studies (CPS) seeks to change this unrealistic paradigm so that the work of care, whether inside or outside the market, is recognized as economically valuable and adequately rewarded. We seek to redefine our flawed concept of wealth, which fails to recognize that our most important wealth consists of the contributions of people and nature, to influence policy and improve the lives of all people.

To accomplish this, CPS seeks a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI to work with an existing team of researchers to build a Social Wealth Index (SWI) to provide metrics for building what is increasingly called a “caring economy.” We define a caring economy as one that recognizes the realities of our post-industrial era, in which human capacity development and environmental sustainability are essential, as well as the realities about how essential care work is, as revealed by the Covid 19 pandemic.

The SWI will consolidate, update, and expand the 24 Social Wealth Economic Indicators developed by CPS in 2014. These indicators demonstrate the economic value of caring for people, starting at birth and across our entire lives, and caring for nature.

The SWI will be designed as an easily accessible measure to inform policy-formation and decision-making from municipal to national governments. While the technical team is developing the Social Wealth Index, CPS will engage in a communications campaign directed to policymakers, business leaders, academics, and the public to pave the way for adoption and use of the SWI.

Background

The term social wealth has a long history as a synonym for “social capital” and later as the strength of association between members of a society. Our definition of social wealth encompasses these earlier concepts, but extends beyond them to include the innate human capacities of members of a society.  Building social wealth is therefore not only creating a culture of care, trust, collaboration, and generosity, but also recognizing that such a culture allows for the full flourishing of human capacity, and thereby for social and economic prosperity.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Gross National Product (GNP) are still the most-used indicators for overall performance of a given economy. However, GDP considers activities that harm and even take life as productive. At the same time, many important activities (e.g., caring activities in the household, community, and environmental sectors) are not included in GDP.

Policy experts have known for years that most household caring work is done by women and is insufficiently accounted for and rewarded. Recent work in neuroscience and human development shows that caring for young and old, as well as for the environment, is crucial to human success on this planet. Additionally, evolutionary biologists and psychologists increasingly see our species as fundamentally cooperative rather than competitive. For instance, studies show that our brains’ pleasure centers light up more when we care and share, rather than when we win.

Economists have begun to adopt the notion of different types of capital – such as natural and human; for example, societies have been deemed relatively well-off if they are well-educated. At the same time, there has been a great deal of work in recent decades to develop metrics (e.g., the Sustainable Development Goals, the Genuine Progress Indicator, the Human Development Index, the Thriving Index, and OECD’s Better Life Index) that go beyond GDP as an index of economic progress and status.

The SWI will draw on and add to these indices by focusing attention not only on a better general quality of life as an economic goal but also by helping to change economic thinking in ways appropriate for our post-industrial and post-Covid 19 era. This will require changes in what is considered social wealth and include ensuring that societies recognize and value the typically non-market areas of “women’s work,” care work, and environmental caring work, as well as including social and economic justice work as “productive work.”

2. Company and Project History

For more than 30 years, the Center for Partnership Studies (CPS) has been working to change economic thinking and measurements. Dr. Riane Eisler, the founder and Executive Director of CPS, has authored several books and numerous articles on the topic, starting with The Real Wealth of Nations

(Berrett-Koehler, 2007) and continuing through Nurturing Our Humanity (Oxford University Press, 2019) co-authored with anthropologist Douglas P. Fry.

Formally, the development of the SWI began in 2010 in partnership with the Urban Institute, resulting in two reports, followed by a two-day workshop in 2012 with leading experts, and culminating with the development of 24 Social Wealth Economic Indicators (SWEIs). In 2014, CPS released the report “Social Wealth Economic Indicators,” lead-authored by economist Indradeep Ghosh. This report laid out a theoretical framework for assessing the SWEIs, and selected data that were used as indicators for the SWEIs. These data were predominantly from OECD countries, with some global indicators.

CPS recently contracted with the Center for Sustainable Economics (CSE) to update and combine the SWEI’s into a single, easily accessible numerical index. This work showed that much of the 2014 data was insufficient for the approach as designed by CSE: e.g., were not time-series, were available only for one country, or were inaccessible.

The new team now being formed will develop another domain-subdomain structure, select appropriate indicators, and complete the steps described in the work phases below.

3. Compensation and Time Commitment

The applicant will be expected to work approximately 10-15 hours per week for competitive compensation.

4. Scope of Work

CPS, led by Riane Eisler, has contracted Dr. Nejem Raheem to work as Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on this project.

The project will proceed in three phases, with intermittent consultations with CPS throughout:

Phase I (September- November 2020): By November 16, 2020, the team will produce recommendations for moving forward with the index after taking into consideration previous work by CSE and CPS and considering the appropriate geographical scope – whether OECD or a larger region. CPS will select an option by November 23rd, 2020.

Deliverables in Phase I:

The first deliverable will be a memo updating CPS on progress by October 15th, 2020; this will include a draft working outline of the SWI domain/subdomain structure, a publication strategy including outline(s) of one or two articles to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, and a list of five candidate journals for submission. This will entail consultation with CPS leadership and be followed by a conference call with all team members to discuss progress.

The second deliverable will be a memo updating CPS on progress by November 16th, 2020. This will detail two options for proceeding with constructing the SWI for either the OECD or a larger region, based on data availability and other considerations; it will also provide an updated outline/draft of the first journal article. This will entail consultation with CPS leadership and be followed by a conference call with all team members to discuss progress.

Phase II (November – December 2020): By December 31, 2020, the team will submit a draft domain-subdomain-indicator framework for the SWI along with a framing narrative. This narrative will be sufficiently detailed to explain the construction of the index, including weighting of indicators. The team will produce a written document that can be promoted at Davos in January 2021. The CPS communications team will work with the PI and Co-PI to produce appropriate visuals, including a slide deck or recorded video presentation. During this phase CPS will build an online evaluation portal (through a tool such as SurveyMonkey) that can be used to solicit feedback on the draft SWI.

Deliverables in Phase II

The first deliverable – due December 7th- is a memo detailing the revised domain/subdomain/indicator framework; a theory of change for each subdomain or indicator; an initial draft of the article; and the target journal. This draft will include a literature review of existing metrics, and a literature review section explaining the theory of change. Additionally, the memo will recommend a core group of experts and a broad set of outlets or institutions to provide feedback on the draft SWI; this section will sketch out requirements for an online system used for feedback. This will entail consultation with CPS leadership and be followed by a conference call with all team members to discuss progress.

The second deliverable — due December 31— is a report on progress to-date and a draft final version of the article. (By this point the SWI will be viewable on the online portal for feedback.) The team agrees that CPS staff should review the paper before the team submits it for consideration at the chosen journal.

Phase III (January and February 2021): After receiving feedback from the Davos presentation, the team will – by February 26th, 2021, finish soliciting input on overall design as well as on the scoring system and weighting system from peers and stakeholders via the online survey system (i.e. SurveyMonkey).

Deliverables in Phase III: 

The first deliverable – due on January 31- will be a memo updating progress and summarizing feedback on the SWI and any issues with the feedback mechanism to date. For example, if we are experiencing low participation, we will need to investigate and respond.

The final deliverable will be a memo describing this part of the process, with an updated draft SWI, and a final summary of feedback from the portal and whatever mechanism we use for gathering feedback at Davos. This will entail consultation with CPS leadership, followed by a conference call with all team members to discuss progress. This will be due by February 26th, 2021.

Phase IV (March through April, 2021): By April 30, 2021, have the draft SWI created along with the final manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal.

Deliverables in Phase IV: 

During this phase the team will work with CPS staff and among themselves to finalize and submit the first journal article. The first deliverable will be a memo detailing progress to-date and an SWI created for the chosen region, using selected data and methods. This will be completed by March 26th, 2021.

The second deliverable, due April 30th, 2021, will be a memo detailing progress so far and a record of the submission of the article to the chosen journal. Additionally, the team will describe how to think about the ‘ideal’ SWI of ten years from now.  This will be based on feedback from the portal/SurveyMonkey instrument, will describe data needs, etc., and make recommendations for governments at the appropriate scale (e.g., either state, municipal, or national) to gather new data.

Phase V (May and June, 2021): By June 30, 2021, finalize SWI, work with CPS to release and publicize it, and submit final manuscript to a peer reviewed journal.

Deliverables in Phase V: 

During this phase, the team will work with CPS staff to create a full report on the SWI project and the tool itself.  Final deliverable is a full report comparable to the SWEI final report. If the team decides to submit a second article, this article will be submitted by this time. This will be due June 30th, 2021.

5. Selection Criteria

The successful applicant:

  1. Holds an advanced degree — preferably a Ph.D. — in one or more of the following areas: economics, women’s studies, behavioral neuroscience, evolutionary biology, or a related area;
  2. Has a distinguished record of publication on caring economy topics (i.e. neuroscience and human development), preferably with use of key indicators;
  3. Has experience accessing and working with large data sets on socioeconomic and sustainability conditions and trends for countries and states as well as familiarity with how these data are used in various indicator frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, Human Development Index, OECD Better Life Index. Such data sets include, but are not limited to, those created for the Sustainable Development Goals, and Human Development Index;
  4. Has experience working with interdisciplinary teams on policy efforts;
  5. Has excellent communication skills and written/spoken English;
  6. Has the ability and commitment to work on this project to completion;
  7. Has a willingness to co-produce communication products such as op-eds that will support the uptake of the SWI;
  8. Demonstrates an aptitude in project management;
  9. Ideally has relationships to those who manage OECD, UN System, or US federal databases. (To date we have found that we need access to data that may not now be publicly available, for example, by requesting customized runs of existing datasets but in combinations that would be ideal for the SWI through these relationships.)

Application Procedure:

Qualified applicants should submit: a cover letter detailing your qualifications for and interest in the project; a current CV; and names and contact information for three references.

Timeline 

  • The Request for Proposal timeline is as follows:
  • Post RFP: July 15-17, 2020
  • Deadline for Bidders to Submit proposals: August 12, 2020
  • Selection of Top Bidders / Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: August 20, 2020
  • Initial Zoom Interviews: August 24 – August 28, 2020
  • Round 2 Zoom Interviews (finalists): to be completed by the end of August, 2020
  • Contract Award/Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: September 2, 2020

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Deadline: 08/12/2020