Measuring Poor State Performance: problems, perspectives and paths ahead

Abstract

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:

  1. Building social indicators is necessary but difficult. PSPIs are a particular type of social indicator that face especially hard-to-solve predicaments.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Citation

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

Measuring Poor State Performance: problems, perspectives and paths ahead

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