Beginners Guides on Measuring the Progress of Societies
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One major project is to prepare a set of reports about how to measure the well-being and progress of societies. These pamphlets are available on this page and also at the Wikiprogress website  

This series of pamphlets briefly introduces basic concepts on measuring the well-being and progress of societies. These pamphlets are intended to be easy to read, non technical, introductions. The pamphlets start by discussing why to measure progress and what, in general, to measure. Then the pamphlets introduce specific measures of progress, such as economic, demographic or political measures.

There are many indicators of progress. For example, typically, an indicator of economic progress might be measured by average economic wealth per person, poverty or inequality. However, there may be many issues involved in measuring the indicators. For example, there might not be universal agreement on which measures to use, how to define the measures, or even how to define the indicator. Additionally, there may be issues with the quality of the data, for example whether it is reliable and valid.

Thus in these pamphlets, we give brief overviews of the indicators of progress, and discuss some of the main issues involved in measuring/defining/using the indicators.

For each indicator, we review the most recent literature, including reports and papers from major researchers or organizations. We then summarize major points about the indicators and their measurement, what the current thinking is about the indicators, and major problems and solutions, if available.

These pamphlets are introductory and brief overviews. In general, we try to focus on the major issues and provide, where possible, links to additional resources which may provide more comprehensive views and may also be useful for research.

We also ask scholars in the field to review the pamphlets and then we revise the pamphlets according to the feedback. We also invite any other interested individuals or organizations to review the pamphlets and provide feedback.

These pamphlets can also be used as a springboard for further discussion by those involved in measuring progress, and we would be happy if this set of pamphlets could reflect diverse viewpoints, from the many scholars involved in measuring progress.

The data for the reports on the Wikiprogress page are available here   See Combined data sets, and then Is life getting better.


Pamphlet 1   Introduction to measuring well-being and progress of societies.

Pamphlet 2   Why measure well-being and progress of societies.

Pamphlet 3   What to measure.

Pamphlet 4   The general approach of the pamphlets.

Pamphlet 5   GDP per capita.

Pamphlet 6   Poverty.

Pamphlet 7   Introduction to inequality.

Pamphlet 8   Issues with data about inequality.

Pamphlet 9   Issues in measuring inequality.

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last updated 9/26/11