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How I Use World Bank Data: Researching Access to Electricity

According to a blog post on THE WORLD BANK DATA BLOG, William Shakespeare once wrote, “There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes.”  Similarly, different people have different understandings of database services. Some people believe it is a type of personalized service, some believe it’s a value-added service, while others believe it’s a solutions-driven service. For us students, database services are vital to our research.

As a form of knowledge service, databases should be adapted to the changing needs of users, supporting both knowledge consumption and knowledge creation. A good database helps not only to convert “data” into “outcomes,” but also achieve the goal of pooling wisdom and creating knowledge by enhancing a user’s creativity with its rich resources and services. In my view, the World Bank’s Open Data has truly fulfilled these functions.

In 2012, when I was interning at the Development Research Center of the State Council, I had the opportunity to read the newlypublished China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative Society. I was fascinated by its comprehensive data, rigorous analysis and innovative conclusions, especially its rich empirical statistics. This also aroused my curiosity – I was keen to discover the powerful databases that support this report.
While writing a paper about the areas without electricity, I tried to conduct an empirical study of these areas from the perspective of comparative politics. Lack of data of other countries made the work difficult. Then the World Bank’s databases came to mind, and I went to the World Bank’s Open Data site to try my luck. To my happy surprise, in the Environment category, what caught my eye first was “Access to electricity (% of population).” Although the data only covers about 80 countries for the two years of 2009 and 2010, it was sufficient to support my comparative study of countries. With the help of this data set, I successfully completed my paper.

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Submitted by Dong Yang On Thu, 03/20/2014

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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