The Guardian: How would you measure development progress

How should we measure the progress of development? What factors would you want measured if it was your life being analysed? Would you join the powerful lobby of macro-economic cheerleaders and focus on GDP? Would you follow Bhutan’s lead and track gross national happiness, focusing on spiritual wellbeing? Or would you put a premium on economic equality and inspect the Gini scores?

The multiplying toolbox of development statisticians reveals an increasingly wide range of indicators. Last year, the UN Human Development Report took on a new tool: the multidimensional poverty index (MPI). It looks at 10 variables, including access to good cooking fuel, schooling, electricity, nutrition and sanitation. The MPI “is like a high-resolution lens which reveals a vivid spectrum of challenges facing the poorest households”, explained Sabina Alkire, director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and a developer of the index. “Before, you might know a person was poor but did not know if their children went to school, if they had a floor or if they cooked on wood.”

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Datum:
25 mei 2011
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