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Latest from the LSMS: DNA fingerprinting, population mapping, energy access, and surveying forests and livestock

Raka Banerjee's picture


The LSMS team continues to support the World Bank's pledge to collaborate with the 78 poorest countries to collect high-quality national household survey data every three years, to better inform investments and policies to eradicate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. A big part of this effort involves improving data collection methods in key areas. Toward that end, under the aegis of the World Bank’s Household Survey Working Group, we have developed a methodological research plan that focuses on welfare, gender, agriculture, and data processing/dissemination. Work is underway, and LSMS is collaborating with UNESCO, ILO, FAO, and other international organizations to establish standards and validate methods for data collection. As part of this effort, at a recent expert consultation at our Center for Development Data in Rome (hosted with FAO), representatives from development agencies and national statistical offices agreed on draft guidelines for collecting data on food consumption. Currently, there are no internationally agreed-upon standards for household consumption and expenditure surveys, so bringing this agenda forward can greatly improve the quality and comparability of global poverty, food security, and nutrition data.

New Data from Niger and Uganda!

Niger: The data from wave 2 of the Niger Enquête Nationale sur les Conditions de Vie des Ménages et l'Agriculture (ECVMA 2014) are now available. This panel dataset follows from the 2011 survey; 3,614 of the original 3,859 households were re-interviewed. The ECVMA is implemented in collaboration with the Niger Institut National de la Statistique (INS).

Uganda: The Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS) 2013/14 data are also available.  This round follows from the 2005/06, 2009/10, 2010/11, and 2011/12 rounds and includes 3,119 households. The UNPS is implemented in collaboration with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
 

DNA Fingerprinting, Drones and Remote Sensing in Ethiopia

CGIAR-Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) implemented two data experiments in collaboration with LSMS, the World Bank, and the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency. One experiment examined data accuracy on measuring improved sweet potato varietal adoption. It compared three household-based methods against DNA fingerprinting benchmark. These included: (i) farmer elicitation, (ii) farmer elicitation using visual-aid, and (iii) enumerator elicitation using visual-aid. Visual-aid protocols were better than farmer elicitation, but still far below the benchmark estimates. Another experiment focused on crop residue coverage measurement. It compared four survey-based (interviewee and enumerator estimations as well as use of visual-aid protocol) and two aerial (drones' images and remote sensing) methods against a line-transect benchmark. The results ranked measurement options for survey practitioners and researchers in conservation agriculture.

A first look at Facebook’s high-resolution population maps

Talip Kilic's picture

Facebook recently announced the public release of unprecedentedly high-resolution population maps for Ghana, Haiti, Malawi, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. These maps have been produced jointly by the Facebook Connectivity Lab and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), and provide data on the distribution of human populations at 30-meter spatial resolution. Facebook conducted this research to inform the development of wireless communication technologies and platforms to bring Internet to the globally unconnected as part of the internet.org initiative.

Figure 1 conveys the spatial resolution of the Facebook dataset, unmatched in its ability to identify settlements. We are looking at approximately a 1 km2 area covering a rural village in Malawi. Previous efforts to map population would have represented this area with only a single grid cell (LandScan), or 100 cells (WorldPop), but Facebook has achieved the highest level of spatial refinement yet, with 900 cells. The blue areas identify the populated pixels in Facebook’s impressive map of the Warm Heart of Africa.
 

Figure 1: Digital Globe Imagery from Rural Malawi Overlaid with Facebook Populated Cells

Facebook’s computer vision approach is a very fast method to produce spatially-explicit country-wide population estimates. Using their method, Facebook successfully generated at-scale, high-resolution insights on the distribution of buildings, unmatched by any other remote sensing effort to date.  These maps demonstrate the value of artificial intelligence for filling data gaps and creating new datasets, and they could provide a promising complement to household surveys and censuses. 

Beginning in March 2016, we started collaborating with Facebook to assess the precision of the maps and explore their potential uses in development efforts. Here, we describe the analyses undertaken to date by the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team at the World Bank to compare the high-resolution population projections against the ground truth data. Among the countries that were part of the initial release, Malawi was of particular interest for the validation exercise given the range of data at our disposal.

Seeing the forests and the trees

Gwendolyn Stansbury's picture

Forests and trees are sources of energy, food, shelter, and medicine—and, as such, contribute in multiple ways to reducing food insecurity, supporting sustainable livelihoods, and alleviating poverty.

But measuring forests’ socioeconomic benefits has been difficult due to methodological limitations and the lack of reliable data. As a consequence, the contribution of forests to sustainable development is not only underestimated, but is in some cases invisible, preventing policy makers from considering forest production and consumption benefits when developing social-welfare policies.

A new multi-partner publication provides a landmark contribution to data collection on the socioeconomic benefits of forests. Countries can use the modules and guidance in the book to help close the information gap on the multiple relationships between household welfare and forests. This, in turn, will help capture the true value of forests and other environmental products in gross domestic product measurements and increase understanding of their roles in livelihoods, ultimately leading to evidence-based policy decisions that ensure appropriate recognition of the socioeconomic benefits of forests in post-2015 development programs.

The publication is the result of collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) Network, and the World Bank's Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team and Program on Forests (PROFOR).

Link to the webcast publication launch: http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/4227/icode/

For practical guidance on household survey design, visit the LSMS Guidebooks page: http://go.worldbank.org/0ZOAP159L0 
 

Maximize analytical use of Public Sector Debt Statistics: D1-D4 matrix approach

Rubena Sukaj's picture
Also available in: العربية | 中文

The Financial Data Team of the Development Economics Data Group (DECDG) is pleased to announce the launch of our Online Quarterly Bulletin’s second edition, an e-newsletter spotlighting debt statistics news, trends, and events. The current issue features the following:

  • Organizing Public Sector Debt (QPSD) statistics to maximize their analytical use and international comparability
  • Bond Issuance by low- and middle-income countries in 2015
  • External debt trends for high-income countries in 20105
  • Debt statistics-related event summaries


One highlight in this edition is the introduction of the D1-D4 matrix, a cascading approach used to present the QPSD data. The primary aim of the QPSD initiative is to institute a standardized measure for each dimension of public sector debt. The QPSD database displays country data for the same set of debt instruments such as 1. debt securities, 2. loans, 3. currency and deposits, 4. Special Drawing Rights, 5. Other accounts payable, and 6. insurance, pensions, and standardized guarantee schemes for the following institutional sectors of the economy: 1) general government, (2) central government, (3) budgetary central government, (4) non-financial public corporations (5) financial public corporations, and (6) the total consolidated public sector debt.

One in four countries don’t notify the public about proposed new business regulations

Valentina Saltane's picture
Also available in: 中文

Transparency and accountability in government actions are increasingly recognized as central to economic development and political stability. Where citizens know the rules that govern their society and have a role in shaping them, they are more likely to comply with those rules. Corruption is lower and the quality of regulation is higher. In addition, citizen access to the government rulemaking process is central for the creation of a business environment in which investors make long-range plans and investments.

Among the 185 countries sampled by the Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance, 138 notify the general public of a proposed new regulation before its adoption. Most countries that give notice are either high income OECD economies or located in the European and Central Asia region.

Chart: India lifted 133 million people out of poverty between 1994 and 2012

Ambar Narayan's picture
This blog post is part of the India: Pathways to Prosperity blog series

India is home to the largest number of poor people in the world, as well as the largest number of people who have recently escaped poverty. Despite an emerging middle class, many of India’s people are still vulnerable to falling back into poverty, making the country uniquely placed to drive global poverty reduction. In the last few weeks, a new blog series analyzed publicly available data to better understand what has driven poverty reduction from the mid-1990s until 2012, and the potential pathways that can lead to a more prosperous India. Learn more
 


 

 

Swedish firms provide training and consider an inadequately educated workforce as the major obstacle to their operations

Silvia Muzi's picture
The private sector is a critical driver of job creation and economic growth. However, several factors can undermine private enterprise and, if left unresolved, may blunt growth. Through rigorous face-to-face interviews with managers and owners of private firms, the World Bank Group’s Enterprise Surveys benchmark the business environment in countries, based on the direct experiences of firms.
 
This blog is based on the Sweden Enterprise Survey (ES), which covered 600 firms across 4 regions and 6 business sectors.


Gender equality is one of the cornerstones of modern Swedish society. In the workplace, however, women are still underrepresented at the upper levels of corporate responsibility and decision-making, especially in the private sector. While women constitute more than one-third of the country’s private sector workforce, they account for only 23% of all managers—with an even smaller percentage of top managers. In 2013, when the Sweden Enterprise Survey was conducted, only 12% of firms in Sweden were led by a top woman manager.
 

Ghanaian firms experience improved access to finance and electricity but challenges remain

Silvia Muzi's picture


The private sector continues to be a critical driver of job creation and economic growth. However, several factors can undermine the private sector and, if left unaddressed, may impede development.  Through rigorous face-to-face interviews with managers and owners of firms, the World Bank Group’s Enterprise Surveys benchmark the business environment based on actual experiences of firms.
 
This blog focuses on Ghana, where 720 firms were surveyed covering six business sectors—(i) Food, (ii) Chemicals, Plastics, & Rubber (iii) Basic Metals, Fabricated Metals, Machinery & Equipment (iv) Other Manufacturing (v) Retail (vi) Other Services.


Use of financial services for investments and working capital on the rise
According to the 2012 Ghana Enterprise Surveys (ES), 21% of firms used banks to finance investments (vs. 16% in 2007) and 25% used banks to finance working capital (vs. 21% in 2007). However, while access to financial services has improved, it is still lower compared to the average for around 135 countries with ES data. The corresponding global averages for bank finance for investments and working capital are 25% and 30%, respectively. Moreover, in Ghana, 23% of the firms surveyed had a bank loan or line of credit, compared to the global average of 34%.

 
 

Open Data initiatives in India and Ukraine

Dawn Duhaney's picture
Also available in: Français
This is a guest blog written by Dawn Duhaney of the Open Data Institute. 

When discussing openness and transparency in government, it would be easy to imagine countries like India and Ukraine have more differences than similarities. India is often described as the world’s largest democracy with a federalized government system that gives financial and legislative rights to regions, while Ukraine is a former Soviet Union state with a historically centralized power system.
 Tezza Nur Rasika - Indonesia, Marija Kujacic - Serbia, Marco Bani - Italy, Alka Mishra - India, Fernando Campagnucci - Brazil, Malick Tapsoba - Burkina Faso, Alexsey Vyskub - Ukraine, Jose Ma Subero - Spain, Pauline Riordan - Ireland
Third meeting of open data leaders at ODI Headquarters in London

Pictured L-R: Tezza Nur Rasika - Indonesia, Marija Kujacic - Serbia, Marco Bani - Italy, Alka Mishra - India, Fernando Campagnucci - Brazil, Malick Tapsoba - Burkina Faso, Alexsey Vyskub - Ukraine, Jose Ma Subero - Spain, Pauline Riordan - Ireland

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