Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Exploring Data Mining and Gamification as Tools for Poverty Analysis and Policy Formulation: A Methodological Framework

Academic journal article Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Exploring Data Mining and Gamification as Tools for Poverty Analysis and Policy Formulation: A Methodological Framework

Article excerpt


Poverty remains one of the rampant social problems any economy needs to address. With the Philippines' poverty line marked at earnings less than PHP 16,841.00 per individual annually. According to data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), 26.5% of the population falls below the poverty line in 2009. Though this figure is a much lower than a comparative figure of 33.1% in 1991, the decline has been slow and uneven, much slower than neighboring countries who experienced broadly similar numbers in the 1980s, such as the People's Republic of China (PRC), Thailand, Indonesia (where poverty level lies at 8.5%) or Viet Nam (13.5%). The Philippines' incidence of poverty remains significantly high as compared to other countries for almost a decade now. The unevenness of the decline has been attributed to a large range of income brackets across regions and sectors. Rapid population growth has also contributed to this predicament (Rivera & See, 2012).

The government planned to eradicate poverty as stated in the Philippines Development Plan (PDP). The PDP for the next six years are an annual economic growth of 7% to 8% and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Under the MDGs, Philippines committed itself to halving extreme poverty from a 33.1% in 1991 to 16.6 % by 2015 (Rivera, Pizarro, Aliping & Reyes, 2012).

Poverty assessment and monitoring is one of the focus areas of the United Nations Development Program. According to the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] (2012), fighting poverty and making progress towards the MDGs requires effective policies to reduce poverty and promote inclusive development. The design and implementation of policies for social inclusion require a good system of information to better understand the problem: what is poverty, what causes it, who does it affect, how does it evolve over time and what impact do development policies and programs have on poverty. Establishing a poverty monitoring and assessment system to answer these questions is fundamental to the design of effective poverty reduction policies. Such systems are also necessary to help governments and the development community to keep track of progress towards the MDGs (UNDP, 2012).

According to the National Anti-Poverty Commission [NAPC] (2012), fiscal constraints in the Philippines have compelled the government to implement targeted interventions directing public resources to the poor and marginalized groups. Identifying who and where the poor are is vital in efficiently and effectively implementing poverty-alleviation programs and projects. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is adopting the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS - PR) using the Proxy Means Test (PMT) in identifying their target beneficiaries for their flagship program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). The local government units (LGUs) have been encouraged to utilize the Community Based Monitoring System (CBMS) through SDC Resolution No. 3, Series of 2006 and Cabinet Secretary's Memorandum dated 11 March 2008 to target beneficiaries for their poverty programs and to evaluate these programs.

The NAPC (2012) has emphasized that the NHTS-PR is a data management system that identifies who and where the poor households are. It generates to the public a database of poor households as reference in identifying beneficiaries of social protection programs. Likewise, the system is also envisioned to reduce inclusion of inadvertent beneficiaries and exclusion of intended beneficiaries of social protection programs.

The NHTS-PR utilizes a "paper and pencil" approach in gathering data. It evaluates all households in all deprived areas and those pockets of poverty via house-to-house interviews. It collects information from the Household Assessment Form - a two-page questionnaire with 34 variables of interest. …

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