Methodical Snark critical reflections on how we measure and assess civic tech

Research Links w 35 (back from summer)


So I’m back in the office and finally done wading through all the interesting stuff that piled up in August, but there’s too much to put here, so popping right into September…


  • A comparison of FOI requests in 11 jurisdictions concludes that everything depends and that comparison is hard (I agree), and references some common indicators for measuring implementation, but offers no framework or method. Also, the assumption that the “new movement of open government naturally includes freedom of information laws,” differs starkly from industry pratter and contention, well documented by @SilvanavF.
  • In Rethinking digital media and political change, Ralph Schroeder examines media systems in the US and Sweden, to conclude that digital media only enhance citizen

    engagemetn “at the margins.”

  • New book on open government in the justice sector. Includes chapters on collaborative policing, on performance measures for open judicial records, and comparing latin american countries’ open justice data.
  • Jonathan Fox has contributed to a new issue paper for U4, which expands earlier conceptual work on vertical accountability and applies it to a monitoring initiative in the Philippines, then offers policy recommendations.
  • Cass Sunstein outlines the distinctions between output and input transparency in a new paper, noting how much more obvious the former is for most non-experts. It’s also worth noting how much easier arguments for output transparency glide into the rhetoric of innovation, arguably a more powerful driver for open government policies, which already tend to include to little process transparency.

In the Methodological Weeds

  • A paper from two Stanford academics proposes a new composite indicator for economic welfare, using micro-data for individual countries, and then comparing countries. They suggest mortality is the primary driver of differences between regions. @dmckenzie001 suggests it might be time to “time to throw out the HDI and other “mash-up indices””




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Methodical Snark critical reflections on how we measure and assess civic tech