IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/deveco/v97y2012i1p1-14.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The tyranny of international index rankings

Author

Listed:
  • Høyland, Bjørn
  • Moene, Karl
  • Willumsen, Fredrik

Abstract

International index rankings are popular, but perhaps too persuasive. They emphasize country differences where similarity is the dominant feature. Rankings based on Doing Business, the Human Development Index and Freedom House can be misleading, not because of wrong indicators, but because the estimation of the scores ignores inherent uncertainty. Re-estimated with a method that captures this uncertainty, it becomes clear that ranking every adjacent country is a rather courageous activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Høyland, Bjørn & Moene, Karl & Willumsen, Fredrik, 2012. "The tyranny of international index rankings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:97:y:2012:i:1:p:1-14
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2011.01.007
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304387811000198
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sangheon Lee & Deirdre McCann & Nina Torm, 2008. "The World Bank's “Employing Workers” index: Findings and critiques – A review of recent evidence," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 147(4), pages 416-432, December.
    2. Martin Ravallion, 2012. "Mashup Indices of Development," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 27(1), pages 1-32, February.
    3. Daniel Kaufmann & Aart Kraay & Massimo Mastruzzi, 2004. "Governance Matters III: Governance Indicators for 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 18(2), pages 253-287.
    4. Martin, Andrew D. & Quinn, Kevin M., 2002. "Dynamic Ideal Point Estimation via Markov Chain Monte Carlo for the U.S. Supreme Court, 1953–1999," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 134-153, March.
    5. International Finance Corporation & World Bank, 2007. "Doing Business 2008 : Comparing Regulation in 178 Economies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6869.
    6. Sagar, Ambuj D. & Najam, Adil, 1998. "The human development index: a critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 249-264, June.
    7. Morse, Stephen, 2003. "For better or for worse, till the human development index do us part?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 281-296, June.
    8. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
    9. Jarvis, Cheryl Burke & MacKenzie, Scott B & Podsakoff, Philip M, 2003. " A Critical Review of Construct Indicators and Measurement Model Misspecification in Marketing and Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(2), pages 199-218, September.
    10. Clinton, Joshua D. & Lewis, David E., 2008. "Expert Opinion, Agency Characteristics, and Agency Preferences," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(01), pages 3-20, December.
    11. International Finance Corporation & World Bank, 2008. "Doing Business 2009 : Comparing Regulation in 181 Economies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6313.
    12. Tina Søreide, 2006. "Is it wrong to rank? A critical assessment of corruption indices," CMI Working Papers WP 2006: 1, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
    13. Jackman, Simon, 2004. "What Do We Learn from Graduate Admissions Committees? A Multiple Rater, Latent Variable Model, with Incomplete Discrete and Continuous Indicators," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 400-424, September.
    14. Sudhir Anand and Amartya Sen, 1994. "Human development Index: Methodology and Measurement," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-1994-02, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Skeptics Guide to Institutions – Part 1
      by dvollrath in The Growth Economics Blog on 2014-11-18 23:28:44

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. ROUGIER Eric, 2015. "\"The parts and the whole”: Unbundling and re-bundling institutional systems and their effect on economic development," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-12, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    2. Chris Tofallis, 2013. "An automatic-democratic approach to weight setting for the new human development index," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(4), pages 1325-1345, October.
    3. Givens, David, 2013. "Defining governance matters: A factor analytic assessment of governance institutions," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 1026-1053.
    4. Débora Pereira & Caroline Mota, 2016. "Human Development Index Based on ELECTRE TRI-C Multicriteria Method: An Application in the City of Recife," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 19-45, January.
    5. Standaert, Samuel, 2015. "Divining the level of corruption: A Bayesian state-space approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 782-803.
    6. Thomas Denk, 2013. "How to measure polyarchy with Freedom House: a proposal for revision," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(6), pages 3457-3471, October.
    7. repec:eee:deveco:v:132:y:2018:i:c:p:130-149 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Stephen Morse, 2013. "Bottom Rail on Top: The Shifting Sands of Sustainable Development Indicators as Tools to Assess Progress," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(6), pages 1-21, May.
    9. Wenzel, Lars & Wolf, André, 2013. "Towards a new measure of a country's competitiveness: applying canonical correlation," HWWI Research Papers 144, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    10. Dandume, Muhammad Yusuf, 2013. "Institution and Economic Growth performance in Nigeria," MPRA Paper 52356, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2013.
    11. Patrick Nussbaumer & Francesco Fuso Nerini & Ijeoma Onyeji & Mark Howells, 2013. "Global Insights Based on the Multidimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI)," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(5), pages 1-17, May.
    12. Lee, Choong Bae & Wan, Junbin & Shi, Wenming & Li, Kevin, 2014. "A cross-country study of competitiveness of the shipping industry," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 366-376.
    13. Débora Viana e Sousa Pereira & Caroline Maria de Miranda Mota, 2016. "Human Development Index Based on ELECTRE TRI-C Multicriteria Method: An Application in the City of Recife," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 19-45, January.
    14. Qihua Qiu & Jaesang Sung & Will Davis & Rusty Tchernis, 2017. "Using Spatial Factor Analysis to Measure Human Development," NBER Working Papers 23952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Desbordes, Rodolphe & Koop, Gary, 2016. "Should we care about the uncertainty around measures of political-economic development?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 752-763.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    International indexes; Ranking; Latent variables;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:97:y:2012:i:1:p:1-14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.