Interdisciplinary Program Office (IPO) Sustainability Seminar Series - The Promises and Challenges of Development Data for Policy Decisions
I begin by broadly discussing the growing variety of data sources available to researchers and decision-makers working on development priorities such as reducing poverty or inequality. I offer a framework for evaluating trade offs across data sources, and some findings from a case study that illustrates while novel data provide some relatively cost-effective insights, they are still limited for studying demographic sub-populations such as small-scale producers and women, important to development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Accordingly, I spend the remainder of the time examining some of the data production decisions made by the World Bank and others on data production - instrument inconsistencies, question choices, sampling – and the data curation decisions made by analysts – cleaning, merging and managing – that can affect estimates, outcomes and ultimately decision-making.
Leigh Anderson joined the Evans School faculty in 1997. Her primary interests are in how individuals living in poverty make financial, environmental, health, and other livelihood decisions, especially when outcomes are highly risky or spread over time. Her current research focuses on rural poverty and agriculture, and market and policy institutions. Professor Anderson founded the Evans School Policy Analysis and Research group (EPAR) in 2008, and continues to direct its research as EPAR's Principal Investigator. Anderson also serves as the Marc Lindenberg Professor for Humanitarian Action, International Development, and Global Citizenship and teaches courses in economics, statistics, and international development. Anderson holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Washington.