This Project Note examines three methods of measuring progress that
allow us to compare the performance of different countries. It argues
that the methods we employ to measure progress matter, illustrating the
diverse results that are generated in a comparison of performance in
East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The note summarises how the findings
inform the measurement component of ODI’s Development Progress Project.
- For some time, many people have argued that we must look at more
than economic growth when measuring progress. But there has been less
attention on how to measure progress and to compare the performance of
different countries. This note provides an overview of the Development
Progress project’s measurement component.
- The measurement
work seeks to examine which countries have progressed, underlining the
difference that measurement makes. It compares three ways of measuring
performance: absolute change, relative change and ‘deviation from fit’.
comparison of a small number of Asian ‘tigers’ in the 1970s and African
‘lions’ in the 2000s uses these methods illustrate interesting results.
It shows that a small number of African countries are performing better
across several indicators than Asian ‘tigers’ did during their first
decade of rapid economic development, broadly in contrast to current
pessimism towards Africa’s development trajectory.
An updated version of ‘Project Note 3: Measuring Wellbeing –
different approaches, their implications and an illustration’ was
uploaded on 1 May 2013. Substantive changes from the first draft include
an update to the columns in Table 2, and additional descriptive content
added to paragraph 2 of the second column on page 4.