Big Data for Development

A Review of Promises and Challenges

Development Policy Review


The article uses a conceptual framework to review empirical evidence and some 180 articles related to the opportunities and threats of Big Data Analytics for international development. The advent of Big Data delivers the cost-effective prospect to improve decision-making in critical development areas such as health care, economic productivity, and security. At the same time, all the well-known caveats of the Big Data debate, such as privacy concerns and human resource scarcity, are aggravated in developing countries by long-standing structural shortages in the areas of infrastructure, economic resources, and institutions. The result is a new kind of digital divide: a divide in data-based knowledge to inform intelligent decision-making. The article systematically reviews several available policy options to foster the opportunities and minimize the risks.

Hilbert, M. (2016). Big Data for Development: A Review of Promises and Challenges. Development Policy Review, 34(1), 135–174. 

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