Do Quantitative Indicators Make Qualitative Meaning?: Analysis of World Development Indicators, Human Development Indicators, and Happy Planet Indicators
In this assignment, a group of four to five students will select one country that has been ranked in the World Development Indicators of the World Bank, the Human Development Indicators of the United Nations Development Program, and the Happy Planet Indicator of the New Economic Foundation. Using the selected country's political, social, and economic statistics, each group will assess the methodology and validity of the measurements of WDI, HDI, and HPI indicators for the country. Students will compare and contrast the measurement methods, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each indicator, and propose recommendations to improve these indicators.
- To understand macro-level quantitative thinking and reasoning in approaches to development.
- To assess the methods of measurement and ranking of countries in WDI, HDI, and HPI.
- To prepare for the main assignment of this course which requires understanding and the use of quantitative evidence, reasoning, and critical thinking in writing.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
Teaching Notes and Tips
- Identification of the theoretical strength and weakness of each method of measuring the indicators;
- The analysis of the extent to which indicators reflect the country's realistic social economic conditions based on students' research on economic, political and social statistics of the country;
- The quality of synthesis and recommendation to improve measurement of indicators.
References and Resources
Related Readings for this Assignment:
Part 2: "The Traps" (Ch. 2,3,4,5) in Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done about It,Oxford University Press, 2007.
Ch. 2,3,6, and 11 in Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom,Anchor Books, 2000.
Elizabeth A. Stanton, "The Human Development Index: A History," Working Paper Series No. 127, The Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, 2007.