NOFO: The Economic Impact of Engagement with Taiwan - A Comparative Study

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) from the Institute for War & Peace Reporting’s (IWPR) Information Access Fund

This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is a full and open competition. 

A.  Program Description

Through the Institute for War and Peace Reporting’s Cooperative Agreement with the Department of State, this full and open competition announcement invites organizations to submit a proposal for funding via a sub-award agreement.

During the past several decades, the number of countries maintaining formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan has steadily decreased as governments switch recognition to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  In many cases, the PRC induces countries by explicitly or implicitly promising incentives like market access, bilateral aid, development finance, and foreign direct investment (FDI).  Additionally, PRC economic threats can prevent countries from bolstering unofficial relations with Taiwan, such as by hosting a Taiwan representative office or engaging directly with the Taiwan authorities. The details of the economic packages offered or threats made to each country are poorly understood and largely non-transparent.  It is also unclear the extent to which the PRC follows through on its economic promises after countries switch recognition to Beijing, or on its threats if countries expand unofficial relations with Taiwan.

This project seeks to fill these knowledge gaps by sponsoring quantitative and qualitative research to analyze the extent to which significant economic impacts on third countries materialize following changes in official or unofficial relations with Taiwan and/or the PRC.  

Organizations must be able to gather and analyze data to produce a study on Taiwan’s and the PRC’s economic impacts on partner countries. Researchers should quantitatively analyze economic data from a broad universe of countries that have affected a change in their official or unofficial relations with Taiwan and/or the PRC since 2000.  Researchers should also qualitatively analyze 3-5 countries representing a range of political relationships with the PRC and Taiwan.  These case studies should include countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, those that recently switched diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, those that switched from Beijing to Taipei, and those that have diplomatic relations with Beijing but have opened trade offices in Taiwan and/or allowed Taiwan to open reciprocal trade offices locally. Successful applicants should be able to include cases from countries with small- and medium-sized GDPs and provide rationale for each case’s relevance to the research questions described above.

Under the sub-award, researchers will measure the quantitative impact of a country’s economic interactions with Taiwan and PRC before and after a change in political relations.  These interactions should, at a minimum, include trade, investment, and foreign assistance.  Researchers should analyze the extent to which changes in the economic relationship could be linked to the change in relations, using qualitative research to supplement statistical analysis.  

In addition to the broad quantitative analysis, the project should include qualitative analyses (“case studies”) of 3-5 countries that have undertaken shifts in their political relationships with Taiwan and the PRC.  This should include one or more examples of countries that have changed diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC as well as countries with existing diplomatic ties to the PRC that decided to expand unofficial ties with Taiwan. 

This project will develop methodologically rigorous data, emphasizing quantitative metrics as well as qualitative analysis in its case studies. The recipient should conduct independent research in this area, and this information should be included in the reports. Key to the proposal will be the applicant’s ability to analyze the economic impact to a country that follows a significant change in its political relations with Taiwan and the PRC, including changes in diplomatic relations and/or expansion of unofficial ties.  

The broad quantitative analysis should examine the impact of a change in political relations on the PRC and Taiwan’s provision of the following to a given country:

  • Direct Assistance: Identify the full range of direct grant assistance and concessionary loans provided by government agencies, institutions, charitable organizations, and companies (corporate social responsibility), including assistance related to infrastructure and public works;
  • Trade: Identify and quantify the impact of bilateral trade in goods and services, including the nominal value of trade and the value of related job-creation;
  • Investment: Identify the full range of direct and indirect bilateral investment supported by agencies, institutions, organizations, and companies, both private and state-owned as appropriate, and associated job creation or loss.  The analysis should include instances where promised investments failed to materialize or produce the expected benefits.

Researchers are encouraged to include other economic impacts that may be relevant, including possible impacts to flows of trade, investment, and development assistance involving third countries or regional entities that could have been impacted by changes in a country’s relationship with the PRC or Taiwan.

The qualitative analysis may also include, but is not limited to, analysis of the following dimensions:

  • Employment and Human Resource Capacity: Quantify the number of jobs created by PRC/Taiwan trade and investment, exploring examples of investment or foreign assistance that spurred local hiring vs. relied heavily on imported labor and the impact of this on local human resource development; 
  • Remittances: Changes in the nominal value of remittances from Taiwan and the PRC following a change in the political relationship;
  • Training: Identify and quantify the benefit of training and technical assistance, as well as private corporate workforce development, on individuals and institutions (i.e., the impact on public services and institutions);
  • Education: Describe and quantify the educational, economic, and cultural impact of university partnerships and Taiwan and Chinese students studying at foreign universities;
  • Health: Identify and quantify the economic value and economic opportunities of health assistance on patient care and in health care systems;
  • Quality of Life: Describe and quantify (if possible) the impact of the above aid on host country companies, technologies, and standards on quality of life (e.g., improved health care, transport facilitation, franchise restaurants, law enforcement capacity, Mandarin language teaching capacity, etc.);

Budget: Estimated available funding is up to $207,000 for one award.

Proposals: Proposals should be no longer than five pages in length. Proposals should outline submitting organization’s background and expertise to take on this project, proposed research and study plan/treatment and duration, as well as ideas for the release of the final products. Proposals should include a budget and a budget narrative as well as plans to measure the study’s impact and outcomes.

Proposals might also consider and include, beyond the studies themselves, how the research and findings could be re-presented and repackaged in accessible ways to improve ease of understanding and utility of raw data sets for end consumers.  

Proposals should include a theory of change as well as clear objectives, outcomes, outputs, and activities organized in a logical framework. These components should explain what the project will do, how it will do it, what it will produce, and what it will change. Anything regarding monitoring and evaluation will not count against the 5-page limit for proposals. 

Length of Project Period: Up to seven months

Project Objectives:

  1. Quantitatively analyze the extent to which flows of trade, investment, and aid between a country and the PRC/Taiwan are affected by changes in diplomatic or unofficial relations, such as a “flip” in recognition from Taipei to Beijing (or vice versa), the opening of a Taiwan trade or representative office, and/or high-level government engagement with the Taiwan authorities.  This analysis should include the full universe of countries that have affected such a change since 2000.
  2. Collect data that will support the development of objective, fact-based narratives and analysis to aid foreign audiences, including foreign governments, in understanding the actual historical impact of a change in political relations, providing a counterpoint to possible PRC pressure and coercive rhetoric.
  3. Assess the extent to which Taiwan and the PRC follow through on public promises or threats related their political relationships with partner governments.

Project Outputs:

  • A report that uses quantitative analysis to assess the correlation between changes in political relationships with the PRC and Taiwan (changes in diplomatic recognition and/or unofficial ties) and flows of trade, investment, and aid that a country may enjoy with both the PRC and Taiwan.  The report will supplement this with qualitative analysis to draw conclusions regarding the level of causality between the change in relationship and the economic effect, if any, that follows.  This report will also assess the extent to which Taiwan and the PRC follow through on promises or threats related to recognition, to the extent made possible by open-source reporting on those promises or threats. The reports must be issued in English. They must be in MS Word and pdf format:
    • Required report elements include: 
      • Executive summary
      • Quantitative analysis, including a narrative explanation and analysis suitable for a general audience
      • Three to five case studies of the economic impacts of a change in political relations between a country and Taiwan/the PRC
      • Infographics and other visual illustrations that support the findings and analysis, as appropriate
  • This study will need to be produced in English and translated into other languages (languages and mechanism for translation to be determined later).
  • Proposals should detail roll-out plans for the report that target potential key audiences. 

Project Outcomes: 

  • Increased availability of high-quality, objective information for foreign audiences, including foreign governments considering a change in political relations with Taiwan or the PRC.
  • Increased awareness of the true costs/benefits of engaging with Taiwan based on rigorous analysis of widely available data as a counterpoint to PRC rhetoric and threats. 

B. Process and Regulations

Any questions concerning this NOFO should be submitted in writing to IWPR via email. Please address any questions to alan@iwpr.net by COB EST May 3, 2021. If need be, answers to any questions will be publicly announced.

To be eligible for the award, applicants must provide all required information. Applications that are submitted late, incomplete or are non-responsive will not be considered. 

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of IWPR or the U.S. government, nor does it commit IWPR or the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. In addition, final award of any resultant grant agreement cannot be made until funds have been fully appropriated, allocated, and committed through internal IWPR and USG procedures. While it is anticipated that these procedures will be successfully completed, potential applicants are hereby notified of these requirements and conditions for award. Applications are submitted at the risk of the applicant. All preparation and submission costs are at the applicant's expense. All applicants must have a valid DUNS number.

The successful organization will be responsible for ensuring achievement of the program objectives. An award will be made to the applicant whose application best meets the requirements of this NOFO. IWPR reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. 

IWPR will confirm receipt of all proposals and their eligibility. 

IWPR is an equal opportunities employer, committed to the equal treatment of all current and prospective employees and does not condone discrimination on the basis of age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, gender identity, or marriage and civil partnership.  We encourage applications from suitably qualified candidates from a wide range of backgrounds who can help continue to evolve our culture and contribute to an inclusive environment.

Principals only. No calls please. Only those who have been selected for interviews will be contacted. IWPR will never ask for payment for recruitment.

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