Research Links w 2-17

Papers & Findings

A large scale citizen survey conducted in 36 Chinese cities found strong correlation between government transparency and citizen perceptions of public service equity. Perceptions of trust are equally important in open data initiatives, but a forthcoming article in Sociology argues that “open government initiatives routinely prize visibility over intelligibility and ignore the communicative basis of trust.” Trust also plays a significant role in Global Innovation Exchange’s sweeping report on the use of ICTs in fighting Ebola, including 9 case studies, and based on 130 interviews. The report’s insights on the “fog of information” are particularly compelling.

Continue reading “Research Links w 2-17”

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research links w41

Papers / Findings

When Indicators Get in the Way, Go Report Minimal?

Now, there’s a lot we could debate here about data collection processes, or tools, or when and how data clerks should be employed – but that’s not the point. Instead, we suggest that a growing amount of the qualitative evidence indicates that costs of collecting and reporting on the data that inform high-level performance indicators (for various agencies) can be quite high – perhaps higher than the M&E community typically realizes. These opportunity costs were echoed across countries and sectors; discussions with agricultural staff in Ghana, for example, suggest that many extension workers spend up to a quarter (or more) of their time collecting and reporting data.

That’s from a recent ICTworks blogpost. It’s focused on a specific initiative (HIV clinic in TZ), but the spirit will ring true to anyone who’s done donor reporting from the field (or at all really). The idea that reporting gets in the way of work is familiar, but it’s often even worse in a tech context, when there’s a presumption of data abundance, and finding metrics to strenghten work and anticipate roadblocks can be hard enough.  Continue reading “When Indicators Get in the Way, Go Report Minimal?”

Research Links w 38

Papers and Findings

  • Text analysis of Swiss media during national referenda on smoking bans finds that the use of evidence in political debates is rare, and usually used only to increase speakers’ credibility. Monitoring the activity of Swiss parliamentarians, meanwhile, is directly and positively affected by monitoring (explicitly via video recording parliamentary sessions) according to a recent paper, at least for legislators up for re-election.
  • Meta-level analysis of the Quality of Government Data Set (26 countries) suggests that perceived corruption suppresses voter turnout (at least in countries with low- to mid-levels of corruption), and also has a useful review of previous literature and findings on the subject. Continue reading “Research Links w 38”