Ülo Ennuste Economics

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WB Development Report 2016

Digital Dividend Development Demons: “ World Bank. 2016. World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends. Washington, DC: World Bank. doi:10.1596/978-1-4648-0671-1. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO *:


 Brilliant (in multidimentional: here demon=genius) magnum opus published 14 January 2016 by the WB – with proper idiosyncratic application risks indicated – as an Estonian example see e.g. also **

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 **) Box 5.13 Estonia’s X-Road (p 280)

Estonia’s X-Road is an internet-based e-government

system that enables participating institutions, including

private business, to communicate and exchange data.a

It serves as a platform for application development by

providing numerous common services to users, including

query design, query tracking, and data visualization. Its

open design is protected by digital authentication, multilevel

authorization, log monitoring, and encrypted data

transfers. This collective process improves the user experience

and motivates state institutions to develop digital

services and people to tap into digital government services.

The common goal is to shift activities from the physical

world to the much more effi cient digital realm.

X-Road’s utility is evident in its exponential growth. The

system launched in 2003 with 10 participating institutions.

By 2013, almost 900 had joined—70 percent are national

or local government agencies, and the remainder private

fi rms. The annual number of queries through X-Road rose

from half a million to 340 million. In 2014, two-thirds of

queries were automated system-to-system exchanges.

The remaining one-third, about 113 million human queries,

refl ects enormous demand for e-services from a population

of only 1.3 million.

The system’s main strength is that it is decentralized.

Participating institutions retain ownership of their data,

but can share it or access other institutions’ data as necessary.

Estonia’s Public Information Act prohibits institutions

from requesting user information already stored in a data

repository connected to the X-Road.b Thus the system’s

architecture—coupled with complementary policies—has

reduced the need for repetitive data entry, increased government

effi ciency, and reduced costs to users. If e-services

are assumed to yield 30 minutes in time saved per interaction

(for the service provider and the citizen) relative to

predigital physical interaction, the number of applications

in 2014 implies a savings of more than 7 million work days

a year—5.4 work days for each citizen.***

Source: Vassil 2015, for the WDR 2016.

  1. See the Information System Authority’s website at https://www.ria.ee/x-road/.
  2. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/522122014002/consolide.

***) “a year – 5.4 work days for each citizen” saved: in the Estonia case it may be estimated probably as only payroll savings considered – about 1(+/-0.5) % of the GDP a year. See also:

Varian, Hal. 2003. “Economics of Information Technology.”
Revised version of the Raffaele Mattioli Lecture,
delivered at the Sorbonne on March 6, 2003. http://

P.S.: In Estonia the main application risks may be the in the low quality of the national socio-cybernetics knowledge structure and poor knowledge of modern macroeconomics (including strategic/deceptive agents – especially among radical politicians and sects – see e.g.

Ennuste, Ü. 2012.  “Waiting for the Commission Strengthened Governance Coordination Leviathans: Discourse Memo for the Actors in the Macro-Game “European Semester”- Baltic Journal of European Studies“ Vol 2, No 1, 2012 p 139-164:http://www.ies.ee/iesp/No11/articles/08_Ulo_Ennuste ).


January 14, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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