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The specter of big data is haunting the world, but has the data revolution already occurred?

Prasanna Lal Das's picture
Also available in: 中文 | العربية | Français | Español

Changes to the supply and demand of data are restructuring privileged hierarchies of knowledge, with amateur hackers and machine-readable technology becoming a central part of its analysis. Traditional experts may be hoping for a gradual evolution, but a parallel revolution led by practitioners in the private sector may already be underway. Prasanna Lal Das argues that partnerships will need to incorporate these new practitioners because for them, the data revolution is already a fact of life.

This isn’t the first age of revolution, but this one feels like it might not last 100 years. Our world is transmogrifying in front of our eyes – sometimes more forcefully than others – and the traditionally dry world of data, dominated by dons and ‘experts’, hasn’t been immune to changes either. It might even be the spark for at least some revolutionary fervour, especially since the report of the high level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 development agenda called for a ‘data revolution’ to ‘strengthen data and statistics for accountability and decision-making purposes’. The official data revolution has however unfolded slowly, sometimes making one wonder if it’s going to be a revolution of the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats, and for the bureaucrats. Or if it will be a revolution that truly changes how we measure our world, what we measure in it, and who does the measurements.

From Participation to Opportunity in Women's Work: What Data Tell Us

Jeni Klugman's picture
Also available in: 中文 | العربية | Español | Français

A new World Bank report, Gender at Work, emphasizes the need for multidimensional assessments of gender equality in the world of work. A fuller picture of the problem lends to more comprehensive policy solutions.

It is tempting to use a single indicator as the gauge of a country’s standing on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. None is more alluring than labor force participation. It is consistently available and provided yearly for the vast majority of countries—currently 183 out of 214 on the Gender Data Portal. This is an exception in the universe of economic gender indicators, which are often patchy, irregular, and unreliable. However, this leaves an incomplete and even misguided impression of how countries fare.

The Data Revolution is Here: How is Open Data Changing the Private Sector?

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

How do you take the same data that everybody has access to and convert it into a billion dollar business? When do you look at all the data in the world and say you want more (and that you are going to collect it like no one has done before)? How do you stop worrying about open data, and begin solving development challenges instead? Who is doing what with open data and how and why?

Which country has the highest proportion of women in parliament?

Leila Rafei's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | 中文 | Français

The latest data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union show that Rwanda tops the list as the country with the highest proportion of women in parliament, with nearly 64 percent of seats held by women in 2013. Globally, women account for an average of about 20 percent of parliamentary seats, up from 15 percent a decade ago.

The top ten countries are a mix of high and middle income economies, some with legally mandated gender quotas and some without. Rwanda, a low income country, is followed by Andorra at a flat 50 percent and Cuba at 49 percent. Sweden, with 44 percent of parliamentary seats held by women, is the country that achieved the highest rate without any gender quota.

Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (%)

An Open Data Community That Grows Together, Stays Together 

Samuel Lee's picture

The power of open data to bring together people from different streams of life for civic purposes was on full display around the world on February 22-23, 2014. Washington, D.C. was home to one of the 194 global International Open Data Day events that dotted cities around the world. Data was scraped. Visualizations were made. Code was written. Interfaces were designed. Prototypes were built. Initiatives were born (Here’s looking at you, Code for Nepal!). New friends were made. And a tooth was chipped.


photo credit: @anjelikadeo

 

Despite the unseasonably warm weather in Washington, D.C., more than 350 civic hackers, development specialists, coders, designers, and enthusiasts participated in two days of Open Data Day hacking and tutorials at the World Bank. Based on an informal poll (raise your hand, please?!) of all attendees at the beginning of the event, nearly two-thirds of the audience had  never attended an Open Data Day event before. This was an unexpected but welcome surprise and bodes well for the continued growth of the open data community in Washington, DC.

The Feedback Hyperloop

Samuel Lee's picture

This post originally appeared on the FeedBack Labs blog.

Arcturus Aldebaran
Photo credit: Arcturus Aldebaran via photopin cc

Feedback is always present. Even silence is not the absence of feedback, but a quiet subtext open for interpretation. In both online and offline communities, the most difficult part is not generating feedback or even collecting it. People typically care about what is happening around them and are often willing to share their sentiments and reflections- sometimes even unable to hold back expression. The advent of writing perhaps marks an innate human desire to share information and to be heard without speaking; “true” silence may actually be quite rare, more a condition of looking and listening in the wrong places or employing a less holistic approach. The graffiti that marks the architecture of repressive regimes past and present is in itself a type of feedback, representing citizen engagement with institutions that refused to officially afford that right or offer practical channels to its citizens. As such, the key challenges that exist with feedback loops are whether or not we are listening, engaging, and actively responding by catalyzing appropriate change.

Spicing up research on sub-national development through open data: Indonesia Data for Policy and Economic Research (INDO-DAPOER)

Also available in Bahasa

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. – Sherlock Holmes.
It's a game changer for those working on Indonesia's sub-national development issues. Comprehensive data at the sub-national level is now available to the public through INDO-DAPOER (Indonesia Data for Policy and Economics Research) at data.worldbank.org. DAPOER, which means ‘kitchen’ in Indonesian, is intended to be a ‘place’ where various data are blended, like spices, and cooked to produce analytical works, research papers, and policy notes.

INDO-DAPOER is the first World Bank sub-national database consisting of both province and district level data to be publicly accessible from anywhere in the world. The database provides access to around 200 indicators from almost 500 districts and 34 provinces in Indonesia, which in general go back to the early 1990s and even 1980s for some. The indicators are grouped into four main categories: fiscal, economic, social demographic, and infrastructure. Indicators range from sub-national government revenue and expenditure, sub-national GDP, to specific education, health, and infrastructure indicators such as net enrollment rate for junior secondary, immunization rate, and household access to safe sanitation.

International Debt Statistics: three changes for 2014

Neil Fantom's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | 中文 | العربية

The World Bank has been collecting statistics on the debt of its borrowing countries since 1951, through the Debtor Reporting System. Published for many years as World Debt Tables (see, for example, the 1982 edition here) and then as Global Development Finance (initially as Volume 2), the 2013 dataset - which contains data for 2011 - was published in a renamed publication as International Debt Statistics, with expanded coverage of Quarterly External Debt Statistics and Public Sector Debt.

Last year we reviewed our dissemination strategy for World Development Indicators (WDI), and made some improvements to improve the quality and accessibility of the statistical indicators, tables and analyses. This year we’ve looked at debt statistics, and are planning some changes here as well; while the 2014 dataset - which contains data for 2012 - has been released in mid-December as usual, we’ll be releasing the redesigned data products in mid-February.

World Bank sees stronger global growth on account of firming up of activity in high-income countries

The world economy is projected to strengthen this year, with growth in high-income economies appearing to be finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis, according to the World Bank’s newly-released Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report.
 

 

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