Measuring Genuine Progress by Scaling Economic Indicators to Think Global & Act Local: An Example from the UN Millennium Development Goals Project
Posted: 14 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 12, 2011
Proposals for incorporating information on the quality of human, social, and environmental conditions in more authentic and comprehensive versions of the Gross National Product (GNP) or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) date back to the foundations of econometrics. Typically treated as external to markets, these domains have lately been objects of renewed interest as calls for accountability and transparency have expanded to include their now topical but previously neglected economic implications. Extensive and expensive data systems are underused for a variety of technical and social reasons that could conceivably be successfully addressed via systematic and coordinated efforts. The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals accountability system is used to illustrate how data quality can be more effectively and efficiently evaluated, how data volume can be reduced with no loss of information, how measures can be made more meaningful, and how they can be made more socially acceptable. Of particular importance are methods for harnessing the energy of the profit motive in national and global efforts aiming to affect these indicators.
Keywords: GDP, GNP, Economic Indexes, Genuine Progress Indicator, Happiness Index, Measurement, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, Rasch, Scaling Methods, Calibration, Development, Research Methods
JEL Classification: B41, C43, C82, E61, E66, F01, F02, F15, F35, F43, H54, I31, I32, O11, O19, O47, O57, P52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation