Category: Research

Fostering Sustainable and Inclusive Climate Solutions Through Digital Technologies

Innovative businesses are key to sustainable development. This research highlights three companies: Husk Power Systems (sustainable energy), Nexsis (solar panels for essential services), and ThredUp (secondhand e-commerce). Insights emphasize the value of pay-as-you-go models, digital tech’s role in sustainability, women’s empowerment via regenerative tech, the need for government support in renewables, and maintaining consumer demand.

Hate Speech on Elon Musk’s Twitter: Under Musk, Hate Speech is Rising

Post Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, hate speech surged. We examined antisemitism, anti-LGBTQ+, racial hate. Analysis (Mar’22-Jan’23) revealed: hate speech volume increased, discourse quality worsened. Despite slight policy shift, toxicity persisted under Musk’s Twitter.

Defeating Disinformation: Join the Unconference

With hateful and harmful content ramping up around elections and conflicts
across the globe, disinformation is thriving. With the Defeating Disinformation
panel discussions, we examine the implications and impact online platforms
will have on the global community and what we can do to improve them and
ensure that user generated content contributes to civic discourse, informed
societies and inclusive growth.

Inclusive Crisis Management by Governments: Using Digital Ethnography and Sentiment Analysis as a Sensing Function and Policy Tool

How can real-time social analytics provide a tool for inclusive policymaking? This report uses a dataset of over 873 million online interactions drawn from more than one hundred social and mainstream media channels to analyze public sentiment and emotion in response to the pandemic management of eight governments between January and July 2020.

In collaboration with Equiception

Did Technology Enable Inclusive Education in Rural India in a Year of Lockdown?

Recent global estimates suggest that school closures and unequal access to technology-based educational inputs used for remote learning will aggravate the existing equity gaps in education. ASER Digital Check 2020 captures information on various dimensions such as children’s sex, their school type, and their parents’ education level to explore this widening equity gap in education in rural India.

In collaboration with ASER Centre, Pratham India

Imagining a Digital Economy for All in Ukraine

Discover Ukraine’s Resilient Tech Economy Amidst Conflict. President Zelensky prioritizes economic preservation in the face of war, removing obstacles for SMEs. Tech sector fuels growth, accounting for $2B in Q1 2022. Learn how digital infrastructure, contingency plans, tax breaks, and security training contribute to its success. Follow our series ‘Imagining a Digital Economy for All in Ukraine’ to explore insights from industry leaders navigating the challenges. Adaptability, collaboration, and innovation redefine the future of work in a dynamic landscape.

DataGovHub Paradigm for a Comprehensive Approach to Data Governance

Data governance has become an essential, albeit challenging task for policymakers. They must develop new visions, strategies, structures, policies, and processes. Governments that can accomodate a flexible approach to governing different types of data use and re-use in a responsive, accountable, ethical, and anticipatory manner are likely to build and maintain trust. In collaboration with the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub at The George Washington University

Pride and Prejudice 2022

For Pride Month, Digital Planet investigates the degree to which LGBTQ+ community finds solidarity among STEM fields. Analysis reveals the share of workers who express their identity as or affiliation with the LGBTQ+ community on their resumes is smaller among STEM graduates than college graduates overall. Women in STEM were twice as likely as men to profess an affiliation with the gay community on their resumes. Younger STEM candidates display a higher rate of LGBTQ+ affiliation than their older colleagues but still significantly trailed younger college graduates overall.

Broadband Infrastructure Funding and the Digital Divide: Prioritizing People over Miles

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the latest source of funding to expand broadband across the US. As local, state, and federal government officials weigh how best to allocate $65 billion in resources, we call for a “people over miles” approach that will ensure more Americans have access to broadband at the speed necessary to learn, work, and access vital services.

Digital Pulse Methodology

Digital Pulse is a platform for measuring and understanding the public’s evolving emotional responses to breaking events. Conceived by Digital Planet as part of the IDEA2030 initiative, Digital Pulse harnesses unstructured data to gauge the reactions of various online communities across the globe to key events. Data gathering and analysis were conducted by Ripple Research, an IDEA 2030 affiliate, under the direction and guidance of the Digital Planet team.

Beyond Access Case Studies

The needs of the global sustainable development agenda are both broad and urgent, and innovation models are central to addressing them in a timely, efficient, and scalable manner, from promoting inclusive growth and ensuring the longevity of natural resources to addressing issues across the state of the human condition.

Glass Ceilings, Broken Rungs, and Gummy Floors

Despite significant strides in college attainment, Black people in America face multiple obstacles in their pursuit of rewarding, lucrative careers. Even among Black professionals holding some of the most marketable degrees (STEM), highest-paying and highest-growth jobs in the technology sector remain elusive.

How Green is the Greenback? An Analysis of the Environmental Costs of Cash in the United States

All methods of storing value have some environmental cost associated with them. We explore the environmental costs of US cash notes, which amount to $0.26 annually per note, based on resources used and CO2 released. We then compare our cash estimate to the environmental costs of crypto assets, using Bitcoin as the basis, and totals $70 annually per coin in terms of CO2 released. However, when considering all the US banknotes in circulation in the aggregate, and all the mined Bitcoin currently available, we find that the overall environmental impact of cash notes ($12.9 billion USD) far exceeds the environmental cost of Bitcoin ($1.3 billion USD).

Unlocking Value Through Virtualized Healthcare: Which Countries are Ready?

The state of digitization of healthcare delivery globally is quite uneven, spotted with patches of excellence and falling well short in others. Digitally administered medicine is yet to reach corners of the world where its need is the greatest. Our study spanning 46 countries, where we overlaid our measures of digitalization and healthcare capacity, reveals sweet spots for virtualized healthcare and how countries lagging in critical healthcare infrastructure can leapfrog by deploying digital mechanisms to provide quality healthcare to their masses.

Turning America's Digital Divide into Digital Dividends

Why are we so divided about the true state of the digital divide in America? What steps might the Biden-Harris administration take to clarify the reality of this divide and move toward closing the access, inclusion, institutional, and digital proficiency gaps? How might the federal government support states in closing these gaps? This analysis examines how these changes can be transformational for a recovering, yet socially distanced economy.

The Shifting Geography of Talent

Given the pandemic induced changes in the way companies are recruiting talent and organizing around remote and hybrid work and the movement of talent away from the traditional major hubs, how can we seize this moment as an unprecedented opportunity to improve the representation of under-represented talent (e.g. Black, Hispanic, female) in the high skilled workforce sought after by tech and bio-medical companies? How can organizations locate these diverse talent pools in the major metro areas across the United States?

Big Tech’s Opportunity for Inclusive Growth

Pandemic-induced work-from-home policies—now slated to be in place for most of 2021, if not indefinitely—could serve as a catalyst for the tech industry to narrow its growing regional and demographic disparity; allowing more cities and demographics to contribute to and prosper from the industry’s economic growth potential. We examined this issue using metrics such as digital readiness, cost of living, and diversity of tech talent pools for a group of states and major cities in the US to assess whether pandemic-induced work-from-home policies could offer the industry an inclusive growth path forward.

A Tale of Two Digital Economies: Gig Workers and Remote Workers

The pandemic’s evolution and states’ varying policy responses have shown that digitally ready states benefited from both a labor force that could socially distance and work from home, as well as one that could support the delivery of essential services in such a scenario through the availability of gig workers. These past months have demonstrated the gig economy’s increasing importance in providing essential services to communities, while also highlighting the inherent disparities and vulnerabilities experienced by gig workers.

Almost two-thirds of the world’s population now online

BBC Digital Planet Gareth Mitchell discusses key findings from the Digital Intelligence Index (DII) and their implications for VR/AR personal data safety and identification and sustainability. With expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington.

Digital Intelligence Index: 2020

An interactive research report that indexes trust in the digital economy and its evolution across 90 economies during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report features a collaborative research platform that provides data and evidence-driven actionable insights to leaders in government, business and technology.

The Misinformation Maelstrom: A Mapping of Vulnerability Across America

The two major political parties in the United States are in an all-out sprint leading up to the presidential election. Neither has had a shortage of digital mediums to amplify their views to the public. The American public’s increased reliance on social media as a source of news is worrisome because of the propensity of these platforms to spread misinformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this trend, tethering people ever more to their personal electronic devices and fostering a boom of both digital crime and misinformation.

The State of the Gender Pay Gap: Earning Disparities Widen as Women Bear the Brunt of the Pandemic

In the US, women make 82¢ for every man’s $1––a significant disparity that is exacerbated by factors like race and education. As the pandemic rages on, women are bearing the brunt if it on multiple levels: 1) as essential workers on the frontlines; 2) being over-represented in occupations that are not conducive to working from home, and losing jobs crucial to their economic stability; and 3) being under-represented in jobs that could shift to a digital medium, and all this while paying the price of chronic pay gaps and an unequal division of household labor.

The Big Easing: Re-Open in Haste, Repent at Leisure?

While contingents push to re-open, states have begun to reverse course as the virus surges to new heights. States with better digital readiness possess the capacity to endure longer periods of lockdowns, and those continuing to observe strict social distancing measures are better prepared to arrest COVID-19 transmission.

Uneven State of the Union

While broadband access seems to be the key factor behind America’s #DigitalDivide, there is more to it than that, namely Infrastructure, Inclusivity, Institutions, and Digital Proficiency.

Color of Disparity: Addressing Extant Racial Gaps in Digital and Economic Capital Key to Ensuring an Inclusive Recovery

Pre-existing racial disparities in unemployment, digital access, and financial resilience have been exacerbated in COVID-19’s wake. Black communities have been disproportionately impacted––in mortality, morbidity, unemployment, and financial losses. As governments and businesses prepare to navigate the economic and public health repercussions of the pandemic, it is crucial to account for these extant inequalities to ensure inclusive recovery.

Resilient Support Systems: The Impact of Digital Infrastructure on the Pandemic-Induced Loss in Employment

Having robust digital platforms are key for business and public services continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic. While Kentucky and Washington both witnessed over a third of their workforce file for unemployment between March and mid-May, the latter state is better equipped to: 1) allow its employed workforce to work from home with low disruption; 2) enable unemployed workers to potentially shift to work that allows them to work from home; and most importantly, 3) support unemployed workers in their search for jobs and to seamlessly file for unemployment insurance online.

Digital Health Divide: Disparities in Broadband Access Prevent Telehealth Policies from Reaching Millions of Americans

While states have been quick to expand telehealth policies in response to the pandemic, there exists a disconnect between policy action and the infrastructure available to support access. Sixteen of the 34 states with expanded telehealth policies have below-average coverage of broadband-speed internet connectivity—a major impediment to digitally administered healthcare.

Urban-Rural Divides: The Uneven Experience of COVID-19 Across the States

Which states across the rural-urban continuum were able to digitally work from home, while containing the spread of the pandemic? Digital Planet scored and arrayed all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their digital readiness and average change in effective reproduction rate of the virus (Rt) from March 16 to May 13, 2020.

Urban-Rural Divide in the US During COVID-19

Digitally ready states, which were able to implement strict social distancing and visibly reduce COVID-19 infection rates, also had an overwhelmingly urban population with greater opportunities to work, educate, and interact in a socially distant world.

Digital Injustice: How Disparities in Digital Access Hurt Black and Latinx Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare longstanding and systemic issues of inequality in the United States. Certain marginalized races and ethnicities (Black or African American and Hispanic or Latinx households) are over-represented in less-flexible, low-tech, and “high-touch” occupations and under-represented in the information economy and “high-tech” occupations; an outcome of decades of disparity in access to critical digital services like stable and affordable internet and computers.

Uneven State of the Union: Spread of COVID-19 Hotspots Across Rural America

Even as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the United States, reaching over 1.67 million cases and nearly 100,000 deaths as of May 26, 2020, many states are now beginning to ease social distancing and stay-at-home mandates. Each state is taking its own unique approach to lifting stay at home orders, allowing businesses to open, and loosening social distancing regulations, due in no small part to a lack of direction from the federal government.

Social Distance Readiness Benchmark

Are countries around the world prepared to keep the wheels of their economies turning during Coronavirus lockdowns? Watch the Social Distance Readiness Benchmark video summary to find out.

Work From Home or Out of Work?

Digitally ready states were able to implement strict social distancing policies in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, with relatively less impact on their employment numbers. While all states experienced economic hardship and a drastic increase in unemployment, those states which were least digitally ready and instituted stricter social distancing measures experienced the most painful unemployment levels, with a higher percentage of their workforce falling out of work.

Which governments are best equipped to deliver public services online during a lockdown?

The delivery of public services online requires two necessary conditions: the infrastructure — hardware and software — for governments to deliver public services digitally, and the availability of affordable internet access. We scored and arrayed 42 countries on these two aspects: (1) digital public services and (2) inclusive and affordable internet. Additionally, we wove in a snapshot of government lockdown and social distancing mandates into this analysis.

Uneven State of the Union: How US States Differ in Slowing COVID-19

Even as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the United States, reaching over 1.67 million cases and nearly 100,000 deaths as of May 26, 2020, many states are now beginning to ease social distancing and stay-at-home mandates. Each state is taking its own unique approach to lifting stay at home orders, allowing businesses to open, and loosening social distancing regulations, due in no small part to a lack of direction from the federal government.

Delivering Public Services During COVID-19

The delivery of public services online requires two necessary conditions: the infrastructure — hardware and software — for governments to deliver public services digitally, and abundant availability of affordable internet access. We scored and arrayed 42 countries on these two aspects: (1) digital public services and (2) inclusive and affordable internet. Additionally, we wove in a snapshot of the stringency of government lockdown and social distancing mandates into this analysis.

How Ready are Countries Around the World to Enter and Exit Lockdowns During COVID-19?

While only part of any economy’s work can be done remotely, the success of moving large swaths of work into “socially distant mode” depends on multiple digital services: telecommunications platforms and apps, e-commerce, and digital media to keep people informed and make good business decisions. On top of that, countries need digital payment options capable of handling the surges in transactions.

COVID Lockdown: How prepared are countries around the world to enter and exit Lockdowns

How prepared are countries to work in socially distant modes and lift lockdown orders during the COVID-19 pandemic? We examined this question by evaluating 42 countries that are significant in the global economy and have enacted social distancing measures. Some countries that were missing key data were not included. We scored the “social distance readiness” of their economies using three indices developed with our team

Global COVID Response

A Social Distance Readiness analysis of 42 countries measuring the robustness of their digital platforms; resilience of internet infrastructure to traffic surges; proliferation of digital payments options and percentage of workforce able to telecommute.

Digital Intelligence Index

An interactive research report that indexes trust in the digital economy and its evolution across 90 economies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

African Leapfrog Index: Getting Lions to Leapfrog

The African Leapfrog Index (ALI) is a novel framework that draws upon the primary levers that facilitate the translation of digital technologies into development and inclusive growth. The framework evaluates six African countries against a continent-wide “best-performance” benchmark to identify strengths to build upon and the opportunities to close gaps.

Building “Smart Societies”: A Blueprint for Action

In this report, we offer a comprehensive framework that covers the essential societal outcomes and a set of benchmarks to measure the progress of any country on the journey towards a “smart society.” For countries aspiring to accelerate that journey, this report offers a dashboard that helps a country’s policymakers locate where the country currently is relative to the benchmarks and what its areas of strength and advantage are.

Digital Evolution Index: Latin America & Caribbean

The Digital Evolution Index: Latin America and Caribbean Edition (DEI LAC) is a data-driven study of the pace of digital growth in 24 LAC countries across four key drivers of supply, demand, institutional environment, and innovation. It utilizes 99 unique indicators measured over a ten-year period (2008 – 2017) to create an overall digital evolution score and digital momentum score.

The African Leapfrog Index

How emerging technologies and digital transformations can accelerate economic and societal growth in 6 African countries.

Ease of Doing Digital Business 2019

If the yardstick of effectiveness of any scorecard or ranking were tangible efforts, by those graded, to “improve bad ratings or maintain good ones,” few come even remotely close to the World Bank’s annual Doing Business survey.

Digital Planet Report: 2017

The Digital Evolution Index 2017 is a data-driven holistic evaluation of the progress of the digital economy across 60 countries, combining more than 100 different indicators across four key drivers: Supply Conditions, Demand Conditions, Institutional Environment, and Innovation and Change. The resulting framework captures both the state and rate of digital evolution and identifies implications for investment, innovation, and policy priorities.

Building Smart Societies

The twin forces of globalization and digitalization have been the cause for much anticipation and anxiety lately; they have been the source of electoral outcomes, policy debates, and news headlines.

Cost of Cash: Mexico

The Cost of Cash: Mexico report does more than simply estimate how much time and money Mexican consumers invest in access to cash. It also asks what groups in society are most likely to pay for access to cash with fees, transit times, and queue times; rich or poor, young or old, Northern or Southern, male or female, and rural or urban. It asks whether financial traits are equally important.

Cost of Cash: India

India’s economic growth propels financial revolution via modern services. Cash-heavy economy, low non-cash payments, high cash management costs analyzed. Technology, Aadhaar key for cash-to-digital shift. RBI, banks face currency operation costs. Report stresses payments’ role in inclusion, cash reduction benefits.

Cost of Cash: United States

Explore the enduring relevance of cash in today’s digital world. Discover the reasons behind its persistence, including anonymity, control, and trust. Learn about the challenges faced by digital alternatives and the complex interplay of habits, regulations, and technology in the cashless revolution. Dive into a comprehensive study shedding light on the costs and benefits of cash use across various stakeholders in the American economy.

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