Five Indicators

During the past Brazilian presidential election campaign, a friend asked me to choose a few indicators to evaluate the next government. There is no right answer to this question and my answer reveals my personal views on the matter [of evaluating a government].

I chose five:

  1. GINI index;
  2. Human Development Index;
  3. Unemployment, total (% of total labor force);
  4. Intentional homicides (per 100,000 people);
  5. medianGDP 1.

These would roughly cover five chosen dimensions: inequality, human development, unemployment, violent crime and personal safety and inequality-adjusted income per capita.

For each one of these dimensions there are alternatives. I simply chose the ones I am most used with and starting at my international indicators source of choice: World Development Indicators from The World Bank. Only data for HDI comes from another source, the UN.

Using these international sources has its advantages: data is available for multiple countries and goes through checking so that international comparisons are feasible.

On the down side, data is usually only available for each year and sometimes with quite big delays. One option is to a find local alternative that might not be a perfect match for the chosen indicator but may accurately portray trends.

For each of these indicators, I intend to, but do not promise to:

  • build a chart and graph commenting on past behavior;
  • find a short term alternative and post updates;
  • comment on new available data.

There should be a new post every month. Perhaps more.

I thank Camilo Telles and René Dvorak for their comments and suggestions.

1. from WDI indicators: GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $) (NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.KD) and GINI (SI.POV.GINI).

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