‘Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made’ said Otto von Bismarck. Turns out you can probably add GDP to that list. Last week’s Economist had a comprehensive takedown of the uses and abuses of Gross Domestic Product as an indicator of wellbeing, economic health or pretty much anything else. People have been critiquing GDP ever since it was created, …Continue reading
This guest post comes from Oxfam well-being guru Katherine Trebeck Over the last few years there has been a spate of measurement initiatives – way too many to list here. Together they represent a positive, if disparate, effort to improve the measures that we take into account when assessing the success of something – a policy, a programme, or even a country. Many of them …Continue reading
Voices of the Hungry; killer indicators, and how to measure the social determinants of health. New thinking on measurement with Gallup Inc.
About once a year, I head off for the plush, Thames-side offices of Gallup Inc, for a fascinating update on what they’re up to on development-related topics. In terms of measurement, they often seem way ahead of the aid people, for example, developing a rigorous annual measurement of well-being across 147 countries. Not quite sure why they talk to me – maybe as part of the …Continue reading
After my ‘bah humbug’ paper on post2015, I’ve been largely avoiding the subject as a monumental timesuck. However, a combination of Sabina ‘multidimensional’ Alkire and Andy ‘bottom billion’ Sumner is an unstoppable force, so I’m making an exception for their new paper, Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs, which is worth a skim. What Sabina and Andy do is use her previous work for UNDP …Continue reading
Why do some (better) alternatives to GDP get picked up, while others sink without trace? Useful new study on political economy of indicators.
Took me a while to overcome my reluctance to read a document subtitled ‘Deliverable 1.1’ on the front page (yuk), but I’m glad I did so. The paper ‘Review report on Beyond GDP indicators: categorisation, intentions and impacts’ (cracking title too…..) is published by BRAINPOoL – ‘Bringing Alternative Indicators into Policy’ (is that the sound of teeth grinding?). The authors come from Eurothinktanks CUEC (Czech …Continue reading
According to Otto von Bismarck, the father of modern Germany, ‘Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.’ Having skimmed the report of the ‘The Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress’, commissioned by President Sarkozy and released last week, I would say GDP (Gross Domestic Product, the standard measure of a country’s economic performance) is right up …Continue reading