Investigating the Roots of Open Data’s Social Impact

Title: Investigating the Roots of Open Data’s Social Impact
Format: Internet Publication
Publication Date: December 2014


It is a challenging and urgent task to innovate democracy. Open data policy and Information Communication Technologies offer promising tools to enhance participation in democratic procedures. To better understand this expected outcome, the Open Data Barometer conducted a cross-national study measuring readiness, implementation, and impact of open data. The barometer reveals puzzling inconsistencies. Countries scoring high in readiness and implementation do not consistently demonstrate high scores of impact. Furthermore, impact is elusive in most countries. Investigating what preconditions allow societies to realize impact can help inform policy makers, technologists, and civil society leaders on best practices to implement open data tools and policy. This paper looks specifically at the social impact of open data, described as marginalized groups having greater access and participation in government decision making. Using a most similar systems design and fuzzy logic, I evaluate the relationship between civil society and open data’s social impact in eight Latin American countries. Results indicate that societies rich in political capital experience greater social impact of open data.

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  • School of International Affairs