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To Measure is to Know? A Comparative Analysis of Gender Indices

Listed author(s):
  • Irene van Staveren

In this paper, I present a comparative analysis of five cross-country composite gender indices. Although there is a relatively high correlation between the indices, the overlap of underlying indicators is low. Country rankings both at the top and at the bottom have parallels but are quite distinct. The differences are explained in two ways: methodologically and theoretically. The methodological differences concern in particular weights, capping, and aggregation. The Capability Approach helps to explain the different focus of each index by distinguishing between four stages of human development, which include distinct types of indicators. The substantial differences that exist between the gender indices require a cautious selection between these for research and policy analysis. This is shown in a few examples with policy variables. Finally, I present a set of three decision trees, which enables an informed choice between the indices.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/00346764.2012.707398
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Social Economy.

Volume (Year): 71 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 339-372

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Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:71:y:2013:i:3:p:339-372
DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2012.707398
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Sabina Alkire, 2007. "The Missing Dimensions of Poverty Data: Introduction to the Special Issue," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 347-359.
  2. Boris Branisa & Stephan Klasen & Maria Ziegler, 2009. "The Construction of the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 184, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
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