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What Do the Worldwide Governance Indicators Measure?

European Journal of Development Research, July 16, 2009

Posted: 22 Aug 2007 Last revised: 8 Sep 2012

M. A. Thomas

U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies

Date Written: July 16, 2009

Abstract

As policymakers and researchers focus more on the question of the impact of governance in economic development, they have required measures of the quality of governance to set policy or to conduct analyses. A number of measures of the quality of governance have been created. Among these are the Worldwide Governance Indicators, which rank countries on six aspects of 'good governance'. Critics have focused on problems of bias or lack of comparability that raise questions about the utility of these indicators. However, a more fundamental question is that of whether the indicators have 'construct validity' – whether they measure what they purport to measure. This paper considers the construct validity of the indicators and raises the question of whether researchers and policymakers are relying on wrong data, rather than poor data.

Keywords: governance, aid effectiveness, indicators, construct validity, corruption, rule of law

Suggested Citation

Thomas, M. A., What Do the Worldwide Governance Indicators Measure? (July 16, 2009). European Journal of Development Research, July 16, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1007527

M. A. Thomas (Contact Author)

U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies ( email )

Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027
United States

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