Psychographics Analysis in Policy-Making

By now, you must be aware of the fact that Cambridge Analytica, a London-based consulting firm, had harvested data of about 87 million Facebook users to influence latters’ political, business and consumption priorities in countries around the world. Of many ways the data thus collected was processed and used, it’s use in Brexit and also during 2016 US Presidential Election has garnered crucial attention at the moment. The revelations so far indicate that Cambridge Analytica had used the data in building psychographic profile of every British and US voter so as to influence their voting patterns.

In basic terms, psychographics are useful in connecting with, persuading them and thus influence their decisions. Due to their comparable and visible benefits in terms of feasibility of actions, relevancy and accessibility; psychographics are, nowadays, more preferred by policy makers and business communities than the demographics.

We have already seen enough use of psychographics in political campaigns and elections, mainly in the US and UK, however, their use in policy-making still seems to be in limbo. Available evidences indicate that the incumbent US President had planned to build psychographic profile of every American voter well before the 2016 election. As a consequence of use of this tactics by him, he could defeat his Democratic counterpart Hilary Clinton in the election two years ago.

As discussed earlier, I personally find, use of psychographics in policy-making – especially in countries where government does not have time and resources to reach out to every citizen to get their opinions on ongoing and future policy reforms – much more crucial and productive now than ever.

The following details by Esri clearly highlight some of the major areas, besides politics, where psychographics could well be used to plan, design, implement and monitor major policies and programs.

As more and more Nepalis go online and leave behind their online habits to the major social media platforms, third-party apps and research institutions now may be the correct time to harness such available data in some meaningful works in the areas of policy-making in the country.

Jaya Jung Mahat

Jaya is a researcher at Samriddhi where he leads a research on public debt management in Nepal. He has an MPP from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and is also an alumnus of Evidence for Policy Design, Harvard Kennedy School's BCURE Program.


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