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Governance Indicators Can Make Sense: Under-five Mortality Rates are an Example


  • Andrews, Matthew R.
  • Hay, Roger
  • Myers, Jerrett


Governance indicators have come under fire in recent years, especially the World Governance Indicators (WGIs). Critics present these indicators as a-theoretical and biased. Critics of the critics counter that no better alternatives exist. We suggest otherwise, arguing that more appropriate ‘governance’ indicators will (i) have theoretical grounding, (ii) focus on specific fields of engagement, (iii) emphasize outcomes, and (iv) control for key contextual differences in comparing countries. Such measures can help indicate where countries seem to have governance problems, allowing second stage analyses of what these problems are. We present under national five mortality rates adjusted for country income groups as an example of such measure, presenting data for contextually controlled outcomes in this specific field to show where governance seems better and worse. The United States is shown up as relatively weak, whereas a country like Pakistan seems to have better governance in this sector than other low income countries. The indicator allows questions about why governance of this sector might be problematic in certain contexts and easier in others.

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  • Andrews, Matthew R. & Hay, Roger & Myers, Jerrett, 2010. "Governance Indicators Can Make Sense: Under-five Mortality Rates are an Example," Scholarly Articles 4448994, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:4448994

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cynthia Buckley, 2003. "Children at Risk: Infant and Child Health in Central Asia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 523, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    2. Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Corporate Governance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 1-35, January.
    3. Edward Anderson & Oliver Morrissey, 2006. "A statistical approach to identifying poorly performing countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(3), pages 469-489.
    4. Rajkumar, Andrew Sunil & Swaroop, Vinaya, 2008. "Public spending and outcomes: Does governance matter?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 96-111, April.
    5. Fay, Marianne & Leipziger, Danny & Wodon, Quentin & Yepes, Tito, 2005. "Achieving child-health-related Millennium Development Goals: The role of infrastructure," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1267-1284, August.
    6. Laurence E. Lynn, Jr. & Carolyn J. Heinrich & Carolyn J. Hill, 1999. "Studying Governance and Public Management: Challenges and Prospects," Working Papers 9930, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    7. Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1996. "Wealthier is Healthier," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 841-868.
    8. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Carolyn J. Hill & Laurence E. Lynn, 2004. "Governance and public management, an introduction," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 3-11.
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