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

See all articles by William P. Fisher

William P. Fisher

University of California, Berkeley - BEAR Center

Date Written: January 12, 2011

Abstract

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

Fisher, William P., Measuring Genuine Progress by Scaling Economic Indicators to Think Global & Act Local: An Example from the UN Millennium Development Goals Project (January 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1739386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1739386

William P. Fisher (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - BEAR Center ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94704
United States

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