Assessing digital bias in developing countries

August 01, 2023

Investigators: Sveta Milusheva, CDEP Affiliate Daniel Björkegren, and Leonardo Viotti

Many of the world's poor are underrepresented in digital data. Less is written about them, and many do not have smartphones. This project assesses how this exclusion affects conclusions. By using a dataset that includes both smartphones and the basic mobile phones that are much more common among the poor, we can explore whether people with smartphones (captured in smartphone mobility estimates) move differently from those with basic phones (omitted from these common measures). In Uganda, smartphone mobility estimates may differ by as much as 40% from estimates that track the basic mobile phones that are more common. 

Assessing Bias in Smartphone Mobility Estimates in Low Income Countries

ACM Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies (COMPASS) (2021)

World Bank blog post