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Measuring Macroeconomic Performance Using a Composite Index
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Julian Gough, World Economics, September 2018
Large quantities of economic data, varying in accuracy and reliability and subject to later revision, are continually produced and published so interpretation using only one data source is subject to risk. The complex world of data can be simplified by combining different measures of economic performance—economic growth, unemployment and inflation into a single composite index. A composite index of cross-sectional data relating to the economic performance of all of the European Union in 2017 puts Ireland, Romania and Malta in the top three positions, while Germany is ranked 12th. Tracking the UK with the composite index using time-series data shows the impact of the financial crisis in 2008–09 with a gradual improvement in performance which peaks in 2015.
False Perspective: The UNDP View of the World
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David Henderson, World Economics, March 2000
Despite some searching and unanswered criticisms of its treatment of statistical evidence, the UNDP Human Development Report has become established as a widely-quoted and influential survey of the world scene. The 1999 Report, reviewed here, focuses on ‘globalization’. This is described as a dominant influence on the recent economic fortunes of developing countries in particular, and as a primary cause of continuing poverty and growing inequality in the world. The author argues that the Report provides neither argument nor evidence in support of this thesis; that it takes no account of other factors that have strongly influenced economic performance; that its main prescription for the world, of reforms in ‘global governance’, is largely beside the point; and that its whole approach is crudely anti-liberal. The author concludes by placing the Report, as also the economists who have aligned themselves with it, in the wider context of anti-liberalism today.



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