High-quality data on the different dimensions of governance — ranging from corruption perceptions to fiscal transparency to business regulation and freedom of the press — can shape policy reforms that have the potential to improve economic, human, and democratic development. However, the current state of governance data limits its potential impact.
The challenges are many. On the whole governance data are wildly incomplete, covering some countries and years but not others, and they are often produced with little to no understanding of who actually uses these data, and for what purpose. Additionally, production costs remain high despite possibilities for economies of scale. No single organization can solve those problems alone.
The Governance Data Alliance, a consortium of governance data producers, users, and funders, was formed to address these challenges and to strengthen the production, use, and impact of governance data.
The Alliance encourages greater coordination amongst data producers to fill data gaps while simultaneously investigating who governance data users actually are, and what kinds of data they need and want. The goal is to produce and aggregate high-quality but accessible governance data that change agents and decision makers at the country level can use to take action.
The Alliance’s work is currently organized around four work streams:
- Knowledge-sharing and collaboration among data producers. This work stream supports peer exchange and technical assistance between groups within (and beyond) the Alliance on topics ranging from research methodology design and data analysis tools to data storage, data visualization techniques, and managing government feedback.
- Publishing and promoting a governance data dashboard that aggregates high-quality data in one place: www.governancedata.org. This work stream promotes improved accessibility, standardization, and use of existing governance data.
- Collecting and analyzing governance data user habits and trends to better understand and meet the needs of those users in future data production efforts. This work stream involves an analysis of data collected through the 2014 Reform Efforts Survey as well as the collection of new data through novel “snap polls” focused on understanding future demand for governance assessments.
- Piloting coordinated data co-production efforts to explore possible economies of scale.This work stream aims to improve the availability of data, particularly for under-assessed countries, and drive down the costs of data production over time.
The Alliance’s secretariat is currently hosted at the Results for Development Institute and the Alliance’s work is supported by Omidyar Network, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.