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Measuring Development 2022: The Role of Mobile Data in Global Development Research

May 11, 2022

In person and virtual options available

Kelan Sing, a fisherman from Taremb community, on Vanuatu's Malekula Island, says he can now text for help while at sea.
  • It is nearly impossible to participate in the modern economy without mobile devices. Over 6 billion people now have access to smartphones, and the use of sensors to measure things like power quality, cookstove use, and air pollution are becoming more common. The expansion of mobile banking, online social networks, and the sharing economy have made mobile devices essential parts of every day social and economic activity. As a result of their ubiquity, mobile measurement tools and mobile data offer an attractive resource for researchers interested in addressing complex challenges like poverty, climate change, and public health crises around the world.

    At Measuring Development 2022: The Role of Mobile Data in Global Development Research, we’ll take a look at how researchers and policymakers are using mobile data to conduct innovative research to solve global challenges. MeasureDev will feature a series of presentations, panel discussions, and lightning talks on novel applications of mobile technology and mobile data for research. Participants will learn about the frontiers of measurement using mobile devices, and gain perspectives from leading academic and industry pioneers. 

    Geo4Dev Workshops

    Alongside MeasureDev, participants are invited to join our Geospatial Analysis for Development (Geo4Dev) workshops on Thursday, May 12th . These hands-on workshops will walk participants through innovative applications of satellite data for various types of development research (see our Geo4Dev learning modules for examples).

  • The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is the West Coast hub for research on global development, headquartered at the University of California, Berkeley. 

    The World Bank's Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) group generates high-quality and operationally relevant data and research to transform development policy, help reduce extreme poverty, and secure shared prosperity. 

    The Analytics and Tools unit in the World Bank's Development Economics Data Group delivers data science products and analytical services to support World Bank lending and data operations. 

  • Wednesday, May 11, 2022

    Time (EDT/GMT-4) Presentation

    8:30 – 9:00 am


    9:00 – 9:30 am


    Carson Christiano (CEGA)


    Framing remarks 

    Arianna Legovini (World Bank)

    Watch Recording

    9:30 – 10:20 am

    Session 1: Mobile data for Development

    Chair: Melis Guven, Global Lead for Social Protection Delivery Systems, World Bank


    Machine learning and phone data can improve the targeting of humanitarian aid

    Emily Aiken (UC Berkeley)** | Suzanne Bellue, Dean Karlan, Chris Udry, Josh Blumenstock


    Port-Au-Prince Calling: Informing Resilience to Social Unrest with Mobile Communication Networks

    Daniel Putman (UPenn)** | Travis Lybbert


    Using Mobile Phone Data to Measure Seasonal Labor Flows

    Xiao Hui Tai (UC Berkeley)** | Suraj R. Nair, Shikhar Mehra

    → Watch Recording

    10:20 – 10:40 am


    10:40 – 11:30 am

    Session 2A: Mobile data for health

    Chair: Olusoji Adeyi, President, Resilient Health Systems and Senior Associate, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


    Impact of mobile network expansion on infant mortality

    Kibrom Tafere (World Bank)** | Justice Tei Mensah, Kibrom A. Abay


    Mobile phone-based diagnostics for Neglected Tropical Diseases

    María Díaz de León Derby (UC Berkeley)** | Michael V. D’Ambrosio, Maxim Armstrong, Daniel H. Friedman, Neil Switz, Isaac I. Bogoch, Daniel A. Fletcher


    Mobile data collection to map risk factors for antibiotic-resistant E. coli in Ecuador

    Heather Amato (UC Berkeley)** | Carlos Saraiva-García, Fernanda Loayza, Amy J. Pickering, Lee W. Riley, Gabriel Trueba, Jay P. Graham

    → Watch Recording

    11:30 – 12:20 pm

    Session 2B: Mobile data and Covid-19

    Chair: Norbert Schady, Chief Economist for Human Development, World Bank Group


    The Viral Spread of COVID-19 Information: A social media experiment in Pakistan

    Arman Rezaee (UC Davis)** | Sarojini Hirshleifer, Mustafa Naseem, Agha Ali Raza


    Uncovering socioeconomic gaps in mobility reduction during the COVID-19 pandemic using location data

    Lorenzo Lucchini (Bocconi)** (virtual) | Sam Fraiberger, Pablo Astudillo, Lorenzo Candeago, Alex Chunet, Nicholas Jones, Maham Faisal Khan, Bruno Lepri, Nancy Lozano Gracia, Emanuele Massaro, Aleister Montfort


    Using Social Media Campaigns to Promote Health-Seeking Behaviors of Households

    Victor Orozco (World Bank) (virtual)** | Nandan Rao, Dante Donati, Ana Maria Munoz Boudet

    → Watch Recording

    12:20 – 1:00 pm

    LUNCH (catered)

    1:00 – 1:30pm

    Overview: Mobile Data in Global Development Research

    Sveta Milusheva (World Bank)

    → Watch Recording

    1:30 – 2:30 pm

    Session 3: Mobile data for transport

    Chair: Nicolas Peltier, incoming Global Director for Transport, World Bank


    Measuring the Incidence and Reporting of Violence Against Women in Public Spaces in Dar es Salaam

    Girija Borker (World Bank)** | Naira Kalra, Samuel Likindikoki, Ester Steven


    COVID-19 Policies and Road Safety: The Case of Nairobi

    Rob Marty (World Bank)** | ​​Sveta Milusheva, Arianna Legovini, Peter Taniform, Caitlin Dolkart, Kelvin Gakuo, Amy Dolinger, Guadalupe Bedoya


    Private and public transport in Lagos: how mobile phones can help researchers understand mobility

    Alice Duhaut (World Bank)**, Nick Tsivanidis, Dan Björkegren


    Demand for ‘safe spaces’: Avoiding harassment and stigma

    Florence Kondylis (World Bank)**, Arianna Legovini, Luiza Cardoso de Andrade, Astrid Zwager, Kate Vyborny

    → Watch Recording

    2:30 – 2:50 pm


    2:50 – 3:50 pm

    Session 4: Methods for mobile data

    Chair: Aart Kraay, Director of Development Policy and Deputy Chief Economist, World Bank


    Framework to Study Migration Decisions Using Call Detail Record (CDR) Data

    Vanessa Frias-Martinez (Maryland)** | Viren Dias, Lasantha Fernando, Yusen Lin, Louiqa Raschid


    Digital Breadcrumbs: Testing the Limits of Cell Phone Metadata in Poverty and Impact Assessment

    Oscar Barriga Cabanillas (World Bank)** | Josh Blumenstock, Travis J. Lybbert, Daniel Putman


    Assessing Bias in Smartphone Mobility Estimates in Low Income Countries

    Dan Björkegren (Brown)** | Sveta Milusheva, Leonardo Viotti


    Evaluating the efficacy of SMS surveys for measuring household welfare and firm performance

    Megan Lang (UCSB)** | Ethan Ligon

    → Watch Recording

    3:50 – 4:00 pm


    4:00 – 5:00 pm

    Lightning Talks


    Advantages & disadvantages of IVR data collection

    Marisa Nowicki (ideas42)** | Lois Ayree, Catherine MacLeod, Saugato Datta


    Where do people spend their time and money? An empirical mobility big data case study for Nairobi

    Vivek Sakhrani (Atlas AI)


    Eyes on the Ground: Crop monitoring through smartphone pictures of plots

    Berber Kramer (IFPRI)** | Koen Hufkens, Berber Kramer, Benson Njuguna, Lilian Waithaka, and collaborators from Dvara E-Registry


    Using mobile phone transaction data to study digital financial inclusion

    Suraj Nair (UC Berkeley)** | Joshua E. Blumenstock


    From In-Person to Mobile Data Collection in Kenya

    Winnie Mughogho (Busara)


    Mobile operator data partnerships: lessons from COVID-19 response and urban planning use cases

    Zach White (GSMA)

    → Watch Recording

    5:00 – 7:00 pm

    Hors d’Oeuvres and Refreshments outside of MC C2-350



    Geo4Dev Workshop Tutorials

    May 12, 2022

    Time (Eastern) Presentation

    9:15 – 9:30 am

    Introduction to Geospatial Analysis for Development

    Doug Glandon (3ie)

    9:30 – 11:30 am

    Applications of Remote Sensing for Impact Evaluation

    Using our newest tutorial from 3ie, learn how to leverage remotely sensed data, combining theory and hands-on practical code, to generate evidence for impact evaluation

    Aayush Malik

    11:30 am – 12:30 pmLunch (self-serve, World Bank cafeteria)

    12:30 – 2:30 pm

    Population Weighted Wealth Tutorial

    Emily Aiken

Event Detail

  • Date: May 11, 2022
  • Venue: In person and virtual options available
  • CONTACT: Nupur Sailesh Savani
Register now!