Big Data for Social Sciences: Measuring patterns of human behavior through large-scale mobile phone data [article]

Pål Sundsøy
2017 arXiv   pre-print
Through seven publications this dissertation shows how anonymized mobile phone data can contribute to the social good and provide insights into human behaviour on a large scale. The size of the datasets analysed ranges from 500 million to 300 billion phone records, covering millions of people. The key contributions are two-fold: 1. Big Data for Social Good: Through prediction algorithms the results show how mobile phone data can be useful to predict important socio-economic indicators, such as
more » ... ncome, illiteracy and poverty in developing countries. Such knowledge can be used to identify where vulnerable groups in society are, reduce economic shocks and is a critical component for monitoring poverty rates over time. Further, the dissertation demonstrates how mobile phone data can be used to better understand human behaviour during large shocks in society, exemplified by an analysis of data from the terror attack in Norway and a natural disaster on the south-coast in Bangladesh. This work leads to an increased understanding of how information spreads, and how millions of people move around. The intention is to identify displaced people faster, cheaper and more accurately than existing survey-based methods. 2. Big Data for efficient marketing: Finally, the dissertation offers an insight into how anonymised mobile phone data can be used to map out large social networks, covering millions of people, to understand how products spread inside these networks. Results show that by including social patterns and machine learning techniques in a large-scale marketing experiment in Asia, the adoption rate is increased by 13 times compared to the approach used by experienced marketers. A data-driven and scientific approach to marketing, through more tailored campaigns, contributes to less irrelevant offers for the customers, and better cost efficiency for the companies.
arXiv:1702.08349v1 fatcat:q73dimeqtvdkbpsjjzwed57zqu