The Premise of Local Information: Building Reliable Economic Indicators from a Decentralized Network of Contributors


This paper describes the design and implementation of Premise, a mobile-phone based platform for gathering reliable, quantitative data through on-the-ground networks of local contributors. Founded in 2012 and currently operating in 34 countries, Premise provides small incentives to ordinary citizens to collect high-quality data, and develops statistical algorithms to aggregate millions of individual contributions into reliable economic indicators. Our focus is on the deployment and scale-up of Premise s operations in Nigeria and Liberia, two contexts that highlight the diverse challenges involved in launching a crowd-based data collection platform, ranging from the recruitment and retention of motivated contributors, to the automatic detection of statistically aberrant data. The goals of this paper are thus twofold: first, to provide transparency into the operations of a new platform of growing prominence in the development community; and second, to highlight key lessons learned that can inform future design and deployment of novel methods for data collection and synthesis in developing economies.

Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development