Investigating the Roots of Open Data’s Social Impact


  • Amanda Meng Georgia Institute of Technology



open data, social impact, civil society, social capital political capital, Latin America


It is a challenging and urgent task to innovate democracy. Open data policy and Information Communication Technologies offer promising tools to enhance participation in democratic procedures. To better understand this expected outcome, the Open Data Barometer conducted a cross-national study measuring readiness, implementation, and impact of open data. The barometer reveals puzzling inconsistencies. Countries scoring high in readiness and implementation do not consistently demonstrate high scores of impact. Furthermore, impact is elusive in most countries. Investigating what preconditions allow societies to realize impact can help inform policy makers, technologists, and civil society leaders on best practices to implement open data tools and policy. This paper looks specifically at the social impact of open data, described as marginalized groups having greater access and participation in government decision making. Using a most similar systems design and fuzzy logic, I evaluate the relationship between civil society and open data’s social impact in eight Latin American countries. Results indicate that societies rich in political capital experience greater social impact of open data.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Amanda Meng, Georgia Institute of Technology

PhD Student in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech. She studies under Dr. Michael Best in the Technologies and International Development Lab. Her interest in technology and development began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the ICT/ Education sector in the Dominican Republic. She has since participated in research projects on ICT and development in India, Niger, and Ghana. Her focus now looks to how we can use networked technologies to make democracy more paticipatory. Amanda has participated in ICT and democracy projects with counterparts in Ghana, the United States, Nigeria, and the United Nations.



How to Cite

Meng, A. (2014). Investigating the Roots of Open Data’s Social Impact. JeDEM - EJournal of EDemocracy and Open Government, 6(1), 1-13.



Special Issue: Research Papers