For the CPRsouth Young Scholar Program, I was given a series of topics such as agriculture, big data and platforms and asked to identify policy-relevant research questions. This kind of response can never be complete. And it begs the question of how good my prediction abilities are. But here goes. The slides:
Yesterday, I presented at CPRsouth 2017 a policy brief on the disbursement efficacy of universal service funds. We presented two relatively easy to develop metrics (year-on-year disbursement rate and cumulative disbursement rate) and applied them to four countries, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The conclusion was that irrespective of country and irrespective of political and administrative leadership, the funds failed to get the money out. In India, for example, USD 10 billion had accumulated in the fund by 2016 taken out of a highly competitive sector and making no contribution to connecting the unconnected. We pointed out that any tax or levy imposed on an operator that is a regular payment is passed on to customers and serves to depress demand.
Tomorrow, we start the CPRsouth Young Scholar Program at the Inya Lake Hotel, Yangon. I was asked to begin the program with a new topic, “What is policy research? What is special about communication policy research?” That proved more interesting than I thought. The slides are below.
Towards a Networked Economy in Myanmar Interim technical report 31 March 2017
Abstract: It is proposed that research-based interventions be undertaken in parallel on all major aspects of the Internet eco-system in Myanmar, namely infrastructure and services, users with skills, user interfaces and attractive content and applications. It is contended that with this novel “allfronts” approach has the potential to accelerate Myanmar’s progress from one of the least connected countries to an inclusive information society. The work will be undertaken in partnership with Myan ICT for Development Organization (MIDO), with the intention of mentoring the members of MIDO to reach their potential as policy intellectuals and future leaders and to strengthen the organization. The proposed work includes quantitative and qualitative studies that build on the baseline nationwide survey and qualitative studies. This research will be utilized in policy interventions and in the development innovation briefs for the development of apps and content useful for “those unlike app developers.