News & More
The LSMS team posts blogs, news articles, brochures, videos, and presentations of research and key issues.
by Heather Moylan
December 7th, 2017
by Talip Kilic and Sydney Gourlay
October 3rd, 2017
by Alberto Zezza
March 7th, 2017
by Vini Vaid
March 2nd, 2017
by Gwendolyn Stansbury
March 1st, 2017
by Vini Vaid
January 13th, 2017
by Raka Banerjee
December 12th, 2016
by Vini Vaid
December 8th, 2016
by Kiwako Sakamoto
November 23rd, 2016
by Talip Kilic
November 18th, 2016
by Gwendolyn Stansbury
October 27, 2016
by Gero Carletto, Marie Ruel, Paul Winters, and Alberto Zezza
October 1st, 2015
by Ellen McCullough
August 11th, 2015
by Saweda Liverpool-Tasie
July 24th, 2015
by Moctar Ndiaye, Elodie Maître d’Hôtel and Tristan Le Cotty
July 21st, 2015
by Renos Vakis, Maria Genoni and Gabriela Farfan
July 8th, 2015
by Paula Nagler and Wim Naude
June 25th, 2015
by Megan Sheahan
June 17th, 2015
by Luc Christiaensen, Talip Kilic, and Amparo Palacios-Lopez
June 11th, 2015
by Luc Christiaensen
June 5th, 2015
by Vasco Molini, Paul Corral and Gbemisola Oseni
May 12th, 2015
by Kevin McGee & Prospere Backiny-Yetna
April 22nd, 2015
by Markus Goldstein & Alberto Zezza
April 1st, 2015
by Alberto Zezza
March 18th, 2015
by Talip Kilic & Thomas Sohnesen
March 11th, 2015
by Tilman Bruck
April 9th, 2014
by Raka Banerjee
September 16th, 2013
by Gero Carletto
September 19th, 2012
by Markus Goldstein, Raka Banerjee, and Talip Kilic
July 25th, 2012
by Markus Goldstein, Raka Banerjee, and Talip Kilic
July 24th, 2012
by Gero Carletto
March 28th, 2012
by Raka Banerjee
July 25th, 2011
by Markus Goldstein
July 5th, 2011
by Kinnon Scott
May 12th, 2011
A few weeks ago, I attended a meeting of the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA) in Muscat, Oman, where I joined a panel discussion on how global survey initiatives like the LSMS or Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) can help us measure and monitor many of the SDG indicators. We also discussed how global initiatives like the UN Statistical Commission’s Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Household Surveys (ISWGHS) can help coordinate these efforts and position the household survey agenda within the global data landscape. Everyone seems to agree that monitoring more than 70 SDG indicators will require high-quality, more frequent, and internationally comparable household surveys. Yet, the narrative on household surveys continues to be lopsided. In my view, this is partly because strengthening traditional data sources like surveys and censuses is seen as outmoded and ineffective when compared with the more glittering promises offered by alternative data sources like Big Data.
At the risk of sounding like a luddite, I believe that it’s important for countries and donors alike to continue investing in household surveys to both validate and add value to new types of data. In many of the countries we work in, leapfrogging to the digital revolution without having gone through an analog evolution may be an ephemeral proposition. This in no way means that we should continue doing things the same way: during the past decade, household surveys have evolved dramatically, increasingly relying on technological innovation and new methods to make survey data cheaper, more accurate, and more policy relevant. Methodological and technological innovation remains at the core of the LSMS’s raison d’être and, together with our partners, we will continue pushing the frontier. Until more robust and fully validated alternatives materialize, household survey critics may want to recall the old saying, “Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em!”
It has been a busy few months for the LSMS team! Together with several Italian and African institutions, we recently launched the Partnership for Capacity Development in Household Surveys for Welfare Analysis. The initiative cements a long-term collaboration to train trainers from regional training institutions in sub-Saharan Africa to harmonize survey data and promote the adoption of best practices in household surveys across the region (see below for more details). In addition, we have contributed to several international conferences and meetings, such as the Annual Bank Conference on Africa (featured below), where we witnessed the creative use of the data we helped collect and disseminate. Finally, LSMS was part of a documentary on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) called The Crowd & The Cloud. The fourth episode featured our very own Talip Kilic and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, working hand in hand to produce household and farm-level panel data, which have been game-changers in informing government policymaking and investment decisions, as well as in advancing the methodological frontier. We look forward to many more exciting quarters as we continue to work with our partners to improve the household survey landscape!
I would like to take this opportunity to remember Hans Rosling, a friend and supporter of the LSMS. I don’t need to tell you about his contagious enthusiasm for data or his masterful use of visualization tools to communicate statistics. I can’t say I knew Hans that well, but over the years, even if only based on sporadic interactions, I came to appreciate him both as a person and a scientist. I met him for the first time in 2013 and still remember the flabbergasted look on his face when Kathleen Beegle and I told him that the core LSMS team consisted of only four part-time staff. He was astounded to find out that we were so small, yet we looked so big. And, of course, being the visualization maestro that he was, he immediately came up with his own visual representation of the LSMS with a tool he had at his disposal at that moment: his hand! From that day on, every time we met, he greeted me with his "LSMS hand." To this day, it remains a good, and fun, memory of Hans.
The LSMS team continues to support the World Bank's pledge to collaborate with the 78 poorest countries to collect high-quality national household survey data every three years, to better inform investments and policies to eradicate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. A big part of this effort involves improving data collection methods in key areas. Toward that end, under the aegis of the World Bank's Household Survey Working Group, we have developed a methodological research plan that focuses on welfare, gender, agriculture, and data processing/dissemination. Work is underway, and LSMS is collaborating with UNESCO, ILO, FAO, and other international organizations to establish standards and validate methods for data collection.
As part of this effort, at a recent expert consultation at our Center for Development Data in Rome (hosted with FAO), representatives from development agencies and national statistical offices agreed on draft guidelines for collecting data on food consumption. Currently, there are no internationally agreed-upon standards for household consumption and expenditure surveys, so bringing this agenda forward can greatly improve the quality and comparability of global poverty, food security, and nutrition data.
Just under a year ago, World Bank President Kim pledged that the World Bank would work with the 78 poorest countries to collect high-quality national household survey data every 3 years, towards helping us better understand how to inform investments and policies to improve lives around the world. This pledge has formed the basis for the President’s Data Initiative, which is now a major action area for those of us involved in data work at the World Bank.
To move the President’s Data Initiative forward, those of us on the LSMS team have been collaborating with colleagues in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice to manage a new data work program under the Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building, through which 14 countries are being supported for data production, and 30 countries are receiving technical assistance from the LSMS team, among others. We are excited to be able to contribute our survey expertise to this strong new Data Initiative, and look forward to further strengthening the World Bank’s infrastructure to support data production worldwide.
Huge changes are underway for the LSMS team, both in DC and around the world! More than 30 years after its inception in the Development Research Group, the LSMS team has found a new home in the Development Data Group (DECDG). This exciting move allowed us to merge with existing data initiatives in order to create a Survey Unit within the Data Group. We expect that our new Survey Unit will take on a greater data leadership role for producing the data we will need to accurately measure the Sustainable Development Goals and the World Bank's Twin Goals. Thanks to our new DECDG colleagues for making us feel so welcome during this time of transition.
Not only have we moved to the Data Group, but some of us have also moved all the way to Italy! The LSMS team is excited to announce its new Center for Development Data (C4D2): a new hub of methodological innovation in household surveys and agricultural statistics located in Rome, established in partnership with the Bank of Italy, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (see below for more details).
The first of the Sustainable Development Goals is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” – an undertaking that cannot be achieved without good data. That’s why the recent pledge by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to work with the world’s 78 poorest nations to ensure they conduct household surveys every 3 years represents a huge step—not only in addressing critical gaps in the collection of poverty data, but ultimately, in achieving SDG1.
Generating household survey data to inform policymaking is at the core of what LSMS does. Since its inception, LSMS has produced more than 100 high-quality, publicly available datasets that have been downloaded thousands of times. We continually work to improve data collection through methodological and technological innovation, and also provide technical assistance to countries around the world. We believe the World Bank’s pledge poses exciting prospects for the future of data worldwide, and hope it will spur further recognition of the role of good household survey data in the fight to end poverty.
LSMS Manager Gero Carletto first attended the World Statistics Congress of the International Statistical Institute in 2011, where he presented at the one single event dealing with agricultural statistics. Four years later, attending the most recent World Statistics Congress held this year in Brazil from July 26-31, he was struck by the sheer number of sessions and papers focused on agriculture and agricultural statistics. Given the importance of sound statistics in informing investment and policy decisions, it seems that this expansion of focus on agriculture in the statistical world is great news for smallholder farmers worldwide.
Smallholder farmers, particularly those living in remote rural areas in developing countries, are among the populations most likely to suffer from extreme poverty and hunger. Thus, if we're serious about truly bringing an end to extreme poverty in the world, a continued focus on increasing our understanding of agriculture and rural areas through sound statistics must remain a top priority in the development agenda. Keep following us on Facebook and on our website as we continue our efforts to improve statistics around the world!
As the exciting and challenging global effort on the SDGs gears up, more and better data will be needed to monitor progress, requiring greater investment by countries and development institutions. For our part, the LSMS has teamed up with USAID’s Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and UNICEF’s Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) to commit to greater coordination in building country capacity and fostering methodological advances in household surveys. Together with Sunita Kishor, DHS Director, and Attila Hancioglu, MICS Global Coordinator, we recently issued a joint statement and established a Collaborative Group aimed at enhancing the relevance of household surveys for monitoring broad measures of progress and for policy.
For more than three decades, the LSMS commitment to improving the availability, quality and relevance of household surveys has been unwavering. Our joint resolve will be even more steadfast! Stay tuned for more exciting news, and be sure to follow us on our newly launched Facebook page to get the latest updates on upcoming events, emerging analytical insights from our datasets, and pictures of our team from all around the world!
2015 is off to a good start, with many new and exciting developments! First of all, the LSMS team has joined forces with the Computational Tools team to form the new Survey and Methods Unit (DECSM). DECSM leads the World Bank's Research Group in the production, analysis, and dissemination of data through methodological research, tool development, technical assistance, and capacity building. What's more, the DECSM team will benefit from a new grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to continue supporting countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the design and implementation of multi-topic panel household surveys through the LSMS-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) project. In terms of latest activities, our collaboration with the FAO on food consumption measurement has been gaining traction, with a successful workshop held recently in Rome and events organized for the upcoming UN Statistical Commission in March. Learn more about what we've been up to on our newly revamped website, where you'll find our latest datasets, research papers, and more.
The New Year is already looking to be a propitious one! Thanks for your support!
Welcome to the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) newsletter! The LSMS program was created in 1980 to address the urgent need for high-quality household survey data in developing countries. Today, LSMS surveys have been conducted in many countries around the world, offering rich, detailed information on household welfare in its many dimensions. The LSMS program also conducts research on household survey methods, validating and establishing best practices for the measurement of poverty, agriculture and migration, among other things. As the world gears up for the post-2015 agenda, surveys like the LSMS will continue to play an essential role in monitoring the World Bank’s new twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and tracking several of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, while also meeting country-specific demands for policy-relevant data.
We hope you'll enjoy reading our newsletter, which includes information on our newly available datasets, recent publications, methodological research, and more!
A policy report by the World Bank and the ONE Campaign distills results from studies conducted under the LSMS research program on gender and agriculture. The studies analyze gender differences in agricultural productivity across Africa.
For two to three weeks at a time, Kathleen Beegle disappears into the wide open spaces of rural Africa. She often lands in a plane on a dirt runway, rents a pick-up truck and drives with a colleague for four to six hours to her destinations.
How much did you eat yesterday? And how much did you spend? On what food products exactly? And what about last week? These types of questions can be very hard for anyone to answer, yet most analyses of poverty, food security, and nutrition are based on data collected using different variants of these questions. Therefore, ensuring that the way data on food consumption and expenditures is collected yields accurate information is essential for monitoring and understanding the welfare of a society and progress toward key development goals.
The Center for Development Data (C4D2) is a Rome-based hub for fostering methodological innovation and strengthening capacity in household surveys in low- and middle-income countries. It is coordinated by the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team in the World Bank’s Development Data Group (DECDG).
The GRAInS partnership aims to conduct methodological research on integration of farm and household surveys, promote cost-effectiveness in data collection through the adoption of innovations, the introduction of technology and the use and integration of data sources, advocate and raise funding for scaling up the implementation of integrated farm and household surveys in developing countries, coordinate the provision of technical assistance and training to support the implementation of integrated farm and household surveys in developing countries, and ensure open access to the data collected through integrated farm and household surveys.
This Special Issue of Agricultural Economics (Volume 46, Issue 3) contributes to the literature on gender differences in sub-Saharan African agriculture primarily by using new and innovative micro data.
The Living Standards Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) project is an innovative household survey program established with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) within the Development Research Group at the World Bank.
Governments, donors, and the private sector are again investing billions of dollars in Africa’s agriculture. A thorough bottom-up update is needed to guide these investments, establish baselines, and ground the agricultural policy dialogues. “Agriculture in Africa Today – Telling Facts from Myths” addresses this void, using the Living Standards Measurement Study - Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) data. The surveys are conducted in 6 countries, representing 40 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Livestock Data Innovation in Africa project worked with the Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics to create an infographic on understanding livestock in Tanzania, using data from the 2012-2013 Tanzania National Panel Survey.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Livestock Data Innovation in Africa project worked with the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics to create an infographic on understanding livestock in Uganda, using data from the 2011-2012 Uganda National Panel Survey.
March 14th, 2016
Download a presentation given by the LSMS team on the reliability and validity of some of the most commonly used skills measures in a rural developing context, which offers a detailed discussion on potential alternative ways of measuring non-cognitive skills in household surveys in developing countries.
December 11th, 2015
Download a presentation given by the LSMS team on the the methodological challenges faced when collecting agricultural family labor data in high frequency surveys, the evidence from a survey experiment in Tanzania, and the implications for agricultural analysis.
October 29th, 2015
Download a presentation given by the LSMS team on the methodological challenges involved in collecting food away from home (FAFH) data in household surveys. New work using the recent National Household Survey in Peru that tests the difference in welfare indicators based on whether FAFH is accounted for suggests that missing FAFH in welfare estimates may matter a great deal.
October 1st, 2015
Download a presentation given by the LSMS team on the effects of variation in respondent selection protocol on the estimates of individual ownership of and rights to assets. The presentation offers recommendations on questionnaire design and respondent selection approach for future household survey operations.
Cognitive, Non-Cognitive, and Technical Skills of Poor Rural Farmers: Measurement Challenges and Implications
April 30th, 2015
Download a presentation given by the LSMS team on the results of an experiment aimed at improving the measurement of farmers’ skills through the design of measurement tools that are usable in field conditions. This study aims to identify the potential gains related to incorporating well-designed skills modules into household surveys such as the LSMS. Recommendations are provided on the skills that matter the most for agriculture and how they can be cost-effectively measured.
April 12th, 2014
Watch a powerpoint presentation and its accompanying lecture investigating a range of commonly held conceptions about modern input use in Africa and distilling the most striking and important findings into 10 key takeaway descriptive results.
April 12th, 2014
Watch a powerpoint presentation and its accompanying lecture on how seasonality permeates African agriculture.
May 7th, 2012
Download a presentation given by the LSMS-ISA team as part of the World Bank's Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Network Learning Days 2012. The presentation provides an overview of the use of Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing and its role in the LSMS-ISA project. It also describes the project's utilization of geo-referencing, as well as various upcoming methodological survey experiments in agriculture, including on land area measurement, soil fertility, and the production of continuous and/or extended harvest crops.
February 27th, 2012
Download a presentation given by the LSMS-ISA team at the World Bank. The presentation describes the main features of the project, discusses the progress of the project to date, reviews challenges that are currently facing the project, and outlines next steps as the project continues to move forward in supporting high quality household and agricultural data in each of its partner countries.
April 26th, 2011
Download a presentation given by the LSMS-ISA team as part of the discussion on Innovations in Survey Design for Policy. The presentation was given during a weeklong learning session presented by the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Network of the World Bank. It introduces the LSMS-ISA project, discusses main features and challenges, and presents examples of methodological validation exercises being conducted under the project.
November 30th, 2010
Download a presentation given by the LSMS-ISA team at the African Economic Research Consortium held in Mombasa, Kenya. The presentation defines the motivation behind the LSMS-ISA project, outlines preliminary findings, and discusses possible new directions for the project moving forward.