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April 2017

Between 2 Geeks: Episode 4 - What can you measure with cellphone metadata?

Andrew Whitby's picture

Globally, there are over 98 mobile subscriptions per 100 people, so the chances are, you have a cell phone. Now look at your recent calls, both sent and received: Who do you call most often? Who calls you the most? Do you send, or receive more calls? All this is cell phone metadata: not the content of the calls, but ancillary information, the “who, where and when”.

It’s information that can reveal a lot about you. Your cellphone carrier already uses it to bill you, and may also be using it to target marketing or special offers at you. And with appropriate privacy protections, it can offer researchers a similar opportunity. In this week’s episode of Between 2 Geeks we ask how cellphone metadata (“call detail records”) can help researchers understand entire societies.

Financing Economic Growth in LDCs: A Tale of National Savings and Natural Resources

Simon Davies's picture


This blog is part of a series using data from World Development Indicators to explore progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and their associated targets. The new Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017, published in April 2017, and the SDG Dashboard provide in-depth analyses of all 17 goals.

Investing today is important for economic growth tomorrow: working hard today to build more and better schools, clinics, roads, bridges, parks, factories, offices, houses and other infrastructure will improve both economic output and living standards in the future. Investing sustainably is especially crucial for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) if they are to achieve the 7 percent growth target (8.1) set by the 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Yet investing for the future means saving more and consuming less today. For every worker building roads and factories that will be used tomorrow, there is one fewer worker producing goods and goodies to be consumed today. For every dollar a family saves, that is one fewer bottle of coke or bag of rice to be consumed today.

Building up assets…

Between 2001 and 2015, LDCs invested an average of 22 percent of their Gross National Income (GNI), while the global average was 23 percent and the OECD average 21 percent. This translates to between a fifth and a quarter of today’s production being invested for the future, rather than being consumed now.

Much LDC investment is self-financed. Over the same period, domestic savings in LDCs averaged over 16 percent of GNI. This is lower than the global savings rate (of 25 percent of GNI) but this is to be expected as capital and investment flows in from wealthier countries. It gives LDCs the chance to increase their capital stock while keeping a reasonable degree of consumption.

Every data point has a human story

Raka Banerjee's picture


Good data leads to good policy, which means better lives for people around the world. But where does data come from? And what’s really going on behind the scenes to arrive at these all-important numbers? A new PBS documentary called The Crowd and the Cloud brings data to life by showing us the real lives behind the data points and the hard work that it takes to turn a human story into a statistic.

Hosted by former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati and written and produced by Geoff Haines-Stiles (Senior Producer of COSMOS with Carl Sagan), The Crowd and the Cloud is a four-part documentary that examines the rapidly growing field of citizen data science, showing how regular citizens are increasingly able to gather and share valuable data on the environment, public health, climate change, and economic development.

Episode 4: Citizens4Earth follows Talip Kilic from the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study program as he travels to far-flung rural communities in central and southwestern Uganda, along with the survey teams for the Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS). In the episode, James Muwonge (Director of Socioeconomic Surveys at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics) explains why household surveys like the UNPS are so important for investment decisions and policy-making, particularly in developing countries like Uganda.

A new commitment to household surveys at the World Bank

Household surveys are crucial for monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Bank’s twin goals of ending global extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity. However, we still face significant challenges around the world in terms of data availability - among the 155 countries for which the World Bank monitors poverty data, half lacked sufficient data for measuring poverty between 2002 and 2011. In response, the World Bank has committed itself to reversing this dismal state of affairs: in October 2015, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced that the Bank would support the 78 poorest countries in conducting an LSMS-type household survey every 3 years.

Chart: Global CO2 Emissions Rose 60% between 1990 and 2013

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Español

 

Global emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas and driver of climate change, increased from 22.4 billion metric tons in 1990 to 35.8 billion in 2013, a rise of 60 percent. The increase in CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases has contributed to a rise of about 0.8 degrees Celsius in mean global temperature above pre-industrial times.

Read more in "The 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: a new visual guide to data and development"
 

Chart: Access to Improved Water Sources is Lowest in Africa

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Español | العربية

 

In 2015, 663 million people were drinking from unimproved sources such as unprotected dug wells. The bulk of those without were in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where rural dwellers, especially the poorest, lagged behind others in access to both water and sanitation.

Read more in "The 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: a new visual guide to data and development"

Chart: Undernourishment: Declining in Almost Every Region

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Español | العربية

 

An undernourished person doesn’t have enough foot to meet their daily energy needs. Globally, over 793 million people are currently considered undernourished. While there’s been steady progress over the past 25 years, ending hunger by 2030 will require accelerated efforts to achieve faster declines in undernourishment levels.

Read more in "The 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: a new visual guide to data and development"

Chart: Women Are More Likely to Tolerate Abuse When Fewer Laws Against Domestic Violence Exist

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: 中文 | العربية | Español

 

Violence against women exists across the globe but laws against gender-based violence do not. In many countries societal norms permit physical and verbal abuse, and in countries studied, when there are fewer legal provisions, women are more likely to tolerate this abuse.

Read more in "The 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: a new visual guide to data and development"

Between 2 Geeks: Episode 3 – Getting an education on education

Raka Banerjee's picture

Education is one of the strongest tools that we have to reduce poverty, improve health outcomes, increase gender equality, and promote peace and stability. For every year that people are educated, their earnings increase by 10%. However, there are still 121 million children who are not attending primary and secondary school around the world, and approximately 250 million children can’t read or write.

What can countries do to change this situation, and what can successful countries teach others about how to get things right in the classroom?

The 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: a new visual guide to data and development

World Bank Data Team's picture
Also available in: 中文 | العربية | Español | Français

The World Bank is pleased to release the 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals. With over 150 maps and data visualizations, the new publication charts the progress societies are making towards the 17 SDGs.

The Atlas is part of the World Development Indicators (WDI) family of products that offer high-quality, cross-country comparable statistics about development and people’s lives around the globe. You can:

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their associated 169 targets are ambitious. They will be challenging to implement, and challenging to measure. The Atlas offers the perspective of experts in the World Bank on each of the SDGs.

Trends, comparisons + country-level analysis for 17 SDGs

For example, the interactive treemap below illustrates how the number and distribution of people living in extreme poverty has changed between 1990 and 2013. The reduction in the number of poor in East Asia and Pacific is dramatic, and despite the decline in the Sub-Saharan Africa’s extreme poverty rate to 41 percent in 2013, the region’s population growth means that 389 million people lived on less than $1.90/day in 2013 - 113 million more than in 1990

Note: the light shaded areas in the treemap above represent the largest number of people living in extreme poverty in that country, in a single year, over the period 1990-2013.

Newly published data, methods and approaches for measuring development

Chart: How Is the World's Youth Population Changing?

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Español | العربية

 

The world's population is young: 42 percent of people are under the age of 25. In South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people aged 12-24 has steadily risen to 525 million in 2015 - almost half the global youth population. The newly released Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017 analyses this and other data related to the 17 SDGs.

Read more in "The 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: a new visual guide to data and development"

 

Interested in using purchasing power parity data? The International Comparison Program’s new site has you covered

Nada Hamadeh's picture

The International Comparison Program (ICP) is pleased to announce its new website.

The ICP estimates purchasing power parities, or PPPs, for use as currency converters to compare the size and price levels of economies around the world.  The new website is a rich repository of over 1,100 files and includes: an overview of the program and its history, governance structure, results and their uses, methodology and research agenda. The site also includes ICP reports, guides, videos, newsletters, and links to news articles, blogs and academic and research papers using ICP data and results.


Interactive chord diagram to visualize trade

Siddhesh Kaushik's picture

What comes to mind when we think of trade? Quite possibly, exports, imports and trade balance. Is there a quick way to get this information without having to look at tables? Most of us would like to see how much a country imports and exports, which are the major trade partners, and what is the trade balance. We have introduced a d3.js based interactive Chord diagram to quickly visualize this information.

For example, here is a visual of Australia’s Exports and Imports for 2015. The chart shows top countries to which Australia exported or imported that year, and the remaining are bundled as “others”. Here is how you can interpret the diagram.

Each country has a different color. The length of the arc for Australia represents Australia’s total imports and the other parts of the arc show Australia’s exports to various countries. We can see the Import arc is slightly bigger than the Export arc and hence Australia has an overall negative trade balance.

Latest from the LSMS: The Crowd & The Cloud, debunking myths about African Agriculture & costing household surveys

Vini Vaid's picture

Message from Gero Carletto (Manager, LSMS)

I would like to take this opportunity to remember Hans Rosling, a friend and supporter of the LSMS. I don’t need to tell you about his contagious enthusiasm for data or his masterful use of visualization tools to communicate statistics. I can’t say I knew Hans that well, but over the years, even if only based on sporadic interactions, I came to appreciate him both as a person and a scientist. I met him for the first time in 2013 and still remember the flabbergasted look on his face when Kathleen Beegle and I told him that the core LSMS team consisted of only four part-time staff. He was astounded to find out that we were so small, yet we looked so big. And, of course, being the visualization maestro that he was, he immediately came up with his own visual representation of the LSMS with a tool he had at his disposal at that moment: his hand!

From that day on, every time we met, he greeted me with his "LSMS hand." To this day, it remains a good, and fun, memory of Hans.

From data blur to slow-mo clarity: big data in trade and competitiveness

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

Tolstoy's War and Peace was the big data of its time. A memorable moment from the epic novel occurs when Prince Andrei awakens following a severe injury on the battlefield. He fears the worst but, "above him there was nothing but the sky, the lofty heavens, not clear, yet immeasurably lofty, with gray clouds slowly drifting across them. 'How quiet, solemn, and serene, not at all as it was when I was running.'" Time appears to slow down and the Prince sees life more lucidly than ever before as he discovers the potential for happiness within him.

In many ways the scene captures what we demand of big data—not the bustle of zillions of data points as confusing as the fog of war, but sharp, clear insights that bring the right information into relief and help us connect strands previously unseen. The question of whether this idea is achievable is the starting point of a paper about big data on trade and competitiveness just published by the World Bank Group. In it, we asked—can big data help policy makers see the world in ways they haven't before? Are decisions that are informed by the vast amounts of data that envelop us better than decisions based on traditional tools? We didn't want a story trumpeting the miracles of big data; we wanted instead to see the reality of big data in action, in its messiness and its splendor.

Open source software: addressing some misconceptions and stereotypes

Alanna Simpson's picture

While stuck in I-66 traffic one morning, a colleague and I had a vigorous debate on the merits of open-source versus proprietary software. I was left with the realization of how much misinformation still persists about this particular subject.

This discussion prompted me to be more proactive about advocating for the adoption of open-source technology. I believe we are just beginning to explore the possibilities for these tools in reducing poverty and ensuring sustainable development.

Between 2 Geeks: Episode 1 - The ups and downs of demography

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Between now and 2050, Africa will add over 1 billion people to its population.

That’s a startling statement about something that’s 30 years in the future. One group with a record of making such long-range projections is demographers like Dr. John May with the Population Reference Bureau.

In our discussion with John, he explains that the growth and structure of populations is linked to one fundamental issue: mortality rates. When infant and child mortality rates decline, fertility rates also eventually decline and population growth slows down. And as life expectancies increase, the share of older people in a country’s population goes up.

But it turns out things are a bit more complicated than that, and there are large implications for public policy that are ultimately driven by demography.

Even when a region like Africa has declining fertility rates, “population momentum” means that countries will continue to grow. With this growth comes the need for better infrastructure, services, and crucially, jobs.

By one estimate, the global economy will need to add 600 million jobs over the next 10 years - mostly in Africa and Asia - just to keep up with young people entering the workforce.

So how is demography shaping our future, and how can we make it the future we want?

This episode of Between  2 Geeks is hosted by Tariq Khokhar & Raka Banerjee, and produced by Richard Miron. You can chat with us on twitter with the hashtag #Between2Geeks , listen to new episodes on the World Bank Soundcloud Channel and  subscribe to “World Bank’s Podcasts” in your podcast app or on iTunes.

Chart: Over 1 Billion People Had No Access to Electricity in 2014

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: العربية | 中文

Nearly 1.1 billion people or 15 percent of the world’s population had no access to electricity in 2014. Nearly half were in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, and nearly a third were rural dwellers in South Asia. In all, 86 percent of people without electricity lived in rural areas, where providing infrastructure is more challenging. Read more in the Global Tracking Framework and their 2017 report on progress towards sustainable energy.