Sunday, April 14, 2013

A new blog from India based on data

Abi has pointed out a new data based blog and an interesting post there We are the 5%:
"Take a look at the map below. It maps the proportion of households in each district, who told census-takers that they own all of the following – a TV set, a phone, a computer and a vehicle (scooter/motorcycle or car). That number, for the country as a whole, is 4.6% (roughly 11 million households)."
I posted the link in my Facebook and there is a comment that the figure is like ninety percent in USA. The point of the post seems to be this five percent is like the one percent in USA, the opinion, decision makers and those who implement the decisions. This seems possible. 
 There are some benefits in India not available in the US. One of my aged relatives recently broke his back and got operated at the government expense and is even getting a pension even though he never worked. When I mentioned this to a friend and inquired how widely such benefits are available, he responded that we the 5% swallow most of the money in those schemes. This tallies with a point that Lant Pritchett made in Everything you think you know about poverty is wrong
"One common belief among people working in international development is that a poor country can be changed by improving its education system, but Pritchett’s research suggests otherwise. The problem in poor countries is that they cannot make effective use of their people’s skills, Pritchett said, so giving them more skills does lead to development. Counter-intuitively, his research has shown that countries whose education system improves actually grow slower on average. He suggests that one reason for this may be that putting more educated people into a corrupt bureaucracy may result in more sophisticated corruption."

Another point that puzzles me is that I know many in towns and villagers who have properties worth crores of rupees but do not own personal computers. It is possible that owning personal computer is not yet a measure of influence in India. I am not sure but it seems that the data has to be interpreted carefully.

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