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Indices and Indicators in Development: An Unhealthy Obsession with Numbers
Publisher: Earthscan Publications | Pages: 160 | 2004-11 | ISBN 1844070115 | PDF | 1 MB

When are numbers the basis for sound decisions and when do they result in planning and policy disasters?
* An original and stimulating examination of the flaws and dangers of widely used international economic, development, and poverty indices and how to improve them
* A major new text for undergraduate courses in human geography, development studies, and economics
The use of numbers to condense complex systems into easily digested "bites" of information is very much in fashion. At one level they are intended to enhance transparency, accountability, and local democracy, while at another they provide a means of enhancing performance. However, all indicators suffer from the same basic problem that, ironically, is also their biggest advantage--condensing something highly complex into a few simple numbers. Love them or hate them, there is no denying that people use indicators to make decisions.
This book explores the use of indicators in the field of human development. Part I provides a brief outline of the contested meaning of "development" and how indicators and indices have been used as means of testing the realization of these development visions in practice in a range of institutional contexts. Part II discusses the limitations of such indicators and indices, and illustrates how they depend on the vision of development adopted. The book also suggests how indices and indicators can best be employed and presented.

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