Last week had interesting findings on political mobilization, now with brain scans. Lots of discussions about appropriate methods for measuring government performance, improving statistics and facilitating adaptive programming. Useful resources from the Engine Room and Beautiful Rising. Oh, and Disco!.
Recent MAVC-supported research on South African urban municipal politicians is refreshingly open, and important for the very specific context it studies. But we should think carefully about how, when, and if niche research can be applied to other contexts, and that means being thoughtful in how we tweet and talk about it.
The Expression Agenda (XpA) was just released by Article19. It's rather prettier than most, and nice to see free expression data in something other than a map or a list; but really, do we need this? The metric doesn't contribute any new data, and the visualization is hard to parse. The report buried in the background is more important by far, but likely only for advocacy on global policy.
Aid Data's new report paints a detailed picture of how government and civil society leaders around the world are using data for decision making. National statistics demand a lot of attention. Civil society and citizen generated data aren't as prominent as ardent believers in the data revolution might have hoped.
Findings Social media activism is stressful– At least in Pakistan, according to a recent survey (N=237, convenience sample) which found significant correlations between stress levels and political activism on social media. Users of Greece’s national transparency and anti-corruption website say they trust government more since the website was established (web survey n=130, availability...
Lots of findings in civic tech research last week. Evidence on how to build open procurement and citizen participation initiatives, field experiments on degrees of responsiveness and accountability workshops gone wrong. New resources on crowdsourced legislative processes and evaluating police accountability, plus insights on citizen policy preferences and lots of cases studies. All of this...
Here’s a long-ranging exploration of the literature on international relations, policy diffusion, public administration, global policy assessments and multi-stakeholder initiatives, where I try to draw some conclusions about what we know and what we don't. I wrap it up by proposing six research questions that could directly inform the design of global do-goodery. There’s a bulleted summary up top.
A recent Oxford white paper proposes mechanism modelling as a method to determine when results of policy evaluations should be scaled or adapted to other contexts. This is an compelling contribution to ongoing debates about external validity of RCTs, more importantly, it's a simple and useful tool for thinking about when and how civic tech programs work across different contexts.