This report presents the results of an investigation of poor state performance indexes (PSPIs), developed within the second phase of the Crisis States Programme. This investigation consists of a ‘critical moment’ (the analysis of current practices and identification of potential weak and strong points) and a ‘constructive moment’ (the proposal of potential solutions and of an agenda of research on open questions).
The core claims of this report are the following:
- Building social indicators is necessary but difficult. PSPIs are a particular type of social indicator that face especially hard-to-solve predicaments.
- In their present form, the majority of PSPIs are basically unsound. A substantial number of the rankings and scores that they produce are an artefact of ad hoc decisions that have no substantive justification. In crucial instances they adopt extremely anti-intuitive assumptions. Extant PSPIs have not solved or even acknowledged several of the key problems they face.
- Some of these problems can be tackled. However, any improvement will necessarily be partial and can only really be considered as an improvement in discursive terms. No such thing as a bullet-proof indicator exists.
Francisco Gutiérrez, D. Buitrago, A. González, and C. Lozano. Measuring Poor State Performance: problems, perspectives and paths ahead. London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK (2011) 89 pp. ISBN 978-0-85328-460-4