18 karmaJoined


PhD candidate in political science


Fascinating work. Thanks for putting this together. I have done some research on the impact of ICT related to democratization efforts in Latin American and SSA. The main deterrent I have faced in the way of research has been the reticence of telecom companies to share proprietary data with researchers, presumably due to the competitiveness of the sector in these regions. This makes it extremely difficult to conduct low- and medium-cost studies. In my opinion, improving access to this data would be a great start in enabling more effective assessments of the potential of similar interventions across a range of outcomes. 

These are all good points and I think there is substantial evidence to support the majority of them. Quick tangent: I'm not so sure about your dismissal of the link between voters selling votes and a lack of service provision as there are several places in which selling votes often occurs as an inadequate form of exchange and/or a way of reallocating finances to allow for the purchase of goods. 

Regardless of that minor detail, I'm more or less in agreement with this framework. It gets a bit more complicated when you introduce alternative systems of collective action and coordination in non-democracies, particularly as many contemporary autocracies have become more adept at using technology to both restrict voice through both repression and targeted goods provisions.

As you note in your later comment on Vietnam below this reflects the wide array of non-democracies and the relative permanence of current regimes/systems. If you do write a blog post I'd be curious to know from an EA perspective (and your perspective) what countries/systems could see the largest gains in quality of life/life years added by inducing transitions to more inclusive forms of governance. Do these match with the countries/systems most susceptible to transitions?

For an entertaining example of the "very bad" outcome and the need for digital human rights see the USS Callister episode of Black Mirror: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Callister