Tremendous promise... But as it turns out, it’s not that simple [Note the elegant simplicity of “cold fusion”]
Presentation outline 1.Our challenges Theory Contestability Conceptual categories 2.All is not lost: Positive incremental steps SNA and the Public Domain 3.The LAGG initiative How does it attempt to incorporate these lessons? Where do we stand?
1.Our challenges Theoretical: rational actors have choices Metrics can be powerful tools for: a) learning, and b) motivation But there’s a “motivational problem” too: the many faces of “gaming” Contestability: no agreed Platonic ideal in goals or their measurement This means trouble for cross-national metrics And for tracking metrics over time Operational categories for common understanding
2.All is not lost Main messages: Accept the first two challenges (theory and contestability). Incorporate them; do not dismiss them. THERE IS COMMON GROUND: New institutionalism, policy issues that resonate across countries Continue the hard work to develop a more robust common language of operational categories to underpin our metrics
(a) Operational categories: SNA A major strength of the SNA is the ability to compile accounts for whole sectors, individual units, or some intermediate levels and to aggregate the accounts in different ways. But it’s tricky e.g., some non profit institutions are part of “general government” while others are not How to account for “joint ventures” You can build it up and also take it apart. How many layers of the onion should be unraveled? That depends on the question or issue of concern Is it a mammal? Dogs vs. cats; hound vs. non-sporting, terrier …
(b) Operational categories: The “Public Domain” ORCHESTRATION Governments use their powers to pass laws affecting the behavior of other economic units. They redistribute income and wealth by means of taxes and social benefits. PRODUCTION FACTORY *
The LAGG Initiative (incorporating lessons) Indicators are (inevitably) both descriptive and prescriptive … but put the weight on description Why we’re leery of rankings. Metrics work better when their the products and tools of a Policy Community: donors and governments alike, civil society & researchers Use extreme caution with perceptions-based and composite indicators Embrace the need for redundancy and multiple assessments