Helen Arus

Title: Impact of Open Government Data in Decision Making Processes: The Case of Estonian Local Governments

Supervisor: Dr. Ringa Raudla

Opponent: Johanna Vallistu

Defense: 5 June 2023


Abstract: This master's thesis explores the integration of Open Government Data (OGD) and data-driven decision-making within Estonian local governments, particularly in the education sector. The study identifies key enablers and barriers affecting the use of open government data, and how it influences decision-making processes. As those enablers and barriers are often context based, it is important to test existing theories and findings in specific environments. In total 9 local government managers and a government representative was interviewed, and document analysis was conducted. Empirical findings from the Estonian local government management level indicate that while various data sources are utilised and overall attitude towards data use is positive and data usage seeps into the decision-making policies, there is potential for more consistent and meaningful use. Obstacles such as data quality and individual workload hinder data-driven practices. Further, a lack of targeted data analysis skills and partially missing stakeholder perspectives in the development of national data bases impede effective decision-making. The thesis suggests that to amplify the influence of open data in making informed decisions, emphasis should primarily be on supporting necessary skills and organizational work transformation at the institutional level. Improvements in the quality and presentation of open data are necessary, also network possibilities for more sense making. The potential implications of this study could provide valuable insights and affect future strategies to endorse data-driven decisionmaking in local governments. This in turn could lead to more informed policy planning and improved educational outcomes.


Keywords: Open government data, data-driven decision making, local government, education policy