Developing Knowledge States: Technology and the Enhancement of National Statistical Capacity

Now available on SSRN, with Derrick Anderson of Arizona State University:

National statistical systems are the enterprises tasked with collecting, validating and reporting societal attributes. These data serve many purposes – they allow governments to improve services, economic actors to traverse markets, and academics to assess social theories. National statistical systems vary in quality, especially in developing countries. This study examines determinants of national statistical capacity in developing countries, focusing on the impact of general purpose technologies (GPTs). Just as technological progress helps to explain differences in economic growth, states with markets with greater technological attainment (specifically, general purpose technologies) arguably have greater capacity for gathering and processing quality data. Analysis using panel methods shows a strong, statistically significant positive linear relationship between GPTs and national statistical capacity. There is no evidence to support a non-linear function in this relationship. Which is to say, there does not appear to be a marginal depreciating National Statistical Capacity benefit associated with increases in GPTs.