A relevant data revolution for development

By Luis Crouch

The paper argues that generalizing from standard tenets of big data to developing country situations should be done only with considerable caution. The emerging term of art for a careful application of big data tenets to public policy issues in developing countries is “data revolution for development.” Yet what this might consist of is not well-defined in the literature. The paper proposes four areas of work that could be a practical approach to a data revolution for development: (1) improving legacy systems and “little data,” including adding citizen-sourced information; (2) improving integration, classification, and curation of existing and new data; (3) adding value to data through predictive analytics and citizen empowerment; and (4) demonstrating use of data in managing service delivery in developing countries.


Crouch, L. (2015). A relevant data revolution for development. (RTI Press Publication No. PB-0007-1506). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2015.pb.0007.1506

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Luis CrouchLuis Crouch, (PhD, Agricultural Economics, University of California, Berkeley) is Chief Technical Officer within the International Development Group at RTI International. He has provided policy advice on data and finance to many governments around the world, has a long record of using data for policy advice, and has written extensively on the use of data for development planning and service improvement.

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