Measuring Governance: Methodological Challenges

Working and discussion papers
August 2002
Goran Hyden, Julius Court and Kenneth Mease

If governance matters, so does the need for more reliable and valid data. Yet many challenges remain in effectively assessing and analyzing governance issues. There remains debate over how best we can meaningfully measure governance – many believe current indicators provide poor measures of key governance processes. There also remains a lack of agreement over how far governance should be assessed with reference to objective indicators as opposed to subjective perceptions. In other words, doubts still exist concerning both what we measure and how we do it. These are critical issues. Without advance on such concerns, it will not be possible to assess how governance varies across the world, what role governance really plays in development, and what aspects of it may be particularly critical. Based on the authors' experiences of collecting data in 22 countries, this paper is intended to spur discussion on ways to address these challenges.

This paper begins by assessing different ways in which governance has been studied by others so as to place the authors own study in a comparative methodological context. The paper discusses the implementation of the survey, highlighting some of the problems encountered. The next section deals with the way the data has been analyzed. In conclusion, an overall assessment is made of the value of the data presented and analyzed in subsequent papers.

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