6.09.2015

Too Long for a Tweet, Too Short for a Blog Post XVII

Here's an excerpt from a magazine article I just finished, "How Mobile Phone Data Reveals the True Toll of Mass Layoffs," by MIT Technology Review:

The standard way that economic agencies gather data is by surveys. These are complex, time consuming, and expensive to collect and provide only a broad brush picture of the way the economy is behaving. By contrast, mobile phone data has the potential to provide high resolution data almost in real time.

But this kind of analysis has downsides too, warn Toole and co. One problem is that researchers cannot choose the data they collect or how it is selected. What’s more, the data comes only from mobile phone users who themselves are a subset of the population that may be biased in various ways.

Nevertheless, mobile phone data is set to play an increasingly important role in how economists and computational sociologists understand the economy, the structure of the societies within it and the behavior of the atoms of society, the people who make it up.
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