Indicators of Development
This paper is mainly prepared in respect of Bangladesh context. Albeit, international perspective is also underlined in this paper. For Bangladesh, agriculture is the single largest producing sector of the economy, and it contributes about 22 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This sector is also account for around 48 percent of the total labor force (BBS, 2008b). Average per capita income in Bangladesh increased to US$599 during the fiscal y6ear July 1, 2007- June 30, 2008, mainly due to remittances from citizens working abroad. If average per capita income were to reach US$750, Bangladesh would progress from its present least developed country (LDC) status to a middle income economy (IANS, 2008). Bangladesh has a population of about 150 million, with a corresponding population density of more than 920 persons per square kilometer. During the first half of the last century the population increased by 45 percent. According to the Bangladesh Population Policy, the population should stabilize at 210 million by 2060 if replacement-level fertility is reached by 2010. It is interesting that there is a wide disparity between the estimates for the Government of Bangladesh and others on exactly when the population will stabilize. However, a comparison of the 2004 and 2007 BDHS surveys shows a marked rise in primary education among women (NIPORT et al, 2005). Employment status varies widely by sex: 68 percent of men and 23 percent of women are currently employed. There is no difference in employment levels between rural and urban areas for either men or women. Nevertheless, since 2004 the proportion of men who regularly listen to the radio has decreased from 52 percent to the current level of 38 percent. This may account for the decrease in the proportion of men exposed to all three media (newspaper, television, and radio) from 17 percent in 2004 to 10 percent in 2007. In remainder of the paper, other possible all indicators of development have critically discussed.
Objectives of the study
· To advance the methodological understanding of the way in which sustainable development indicators (SDIs) are being developed.
· To identify whether current methodologies allow for an inter-dimensional approach to the measurement of SD.
· To examine whether one indicator can mostly represent the development of prescribed area/sector.
· To identify the number of indicators are used to measure development in Bangladesh.
· To examine the current development of Bangladesh through development indicators.
· To indentify the variety of indicators used to measure development in international level.
· To examine whether the indicators used in Bangladesh are guiding policies and decisions at all levels of society.
· To examine whether the Indicators used are clearly defined.
This paper has prepared through secondary analysis. This method is more rational for this paper because we can search through collections of information with a research question and variables in mind, and then reassemble the information in new ways to address the research question (Neuman, W.L., 2003). It is difficult to specify topics that are appropriate for existing statistics research because they are so varied. Any topic on which information has been collected and is publicly available can be studied. In fact, existing statistics projects may not fit neatly into a deductive model of research design. Therefore, in secondary analysis, also the reason of my using, the focus is on analyzing rather than collecting data.
· Bossel (1999) states that a number of requirements follow for finding indicators of sustainable development:
· Indicators of sustainable development are needed to guide policies and decisions at all levels of society: village, town, city, and county, state region, nation, continent and world.
· These indicators must represent all important concerns: an ad hoc collection of indicators that just seem relevant is not adequate. A more systematic approach must look at the interaction of systems and their environment.
· The number of indicators should be as small as possible, but not smaller than necessary. That is, the indicator set must be comprehensive and compact, covering all relevant aspects.
· The process of finding an indicator set must be participatory to ensure that the set encompasses the visions and values of the community or region for which it is developed.
· Indicators must be clearly defined, reproducible, unambiguous, understandable and practical. They must reflect the interests and views of different stakeholders.
· From a look at these indicators, it must be possible to deduce the viability and sustainability of current developments, and to compare with alternative development paths.
· A framework, a process and criteria for finding and adequate set of indicators of sustainable development are needed.( Bossel , 1999, p 7)
Indicators summarize complex information of value to the observer:
Indicators are our link to the world. They condense its enormous complexity to a manageable amount of meaningful information, to a small sub set of observations informing our decisions and directing our actions. If we have learned to watch the relevant indicators, we can understand and cope with our dynamic environment. If we follow the wrong signals, we get confused or misled, responding inappropriately, against our intrinsic interests and intentions, going in a direction in which we don’t want to go.
Indicators represent valuable information. In the course of growing up, in our formal education, and in learning to cope with our specific personal and professional environment we have learned the meaning and significance of the indicators we use in our daily lives. The indicators we watch mean something to us; they are of value to us because they tell us something that is in some way important to us. They help us to construct a picture of the state of our environment of which we can base intelligent decisions to protect and promote what we care about. Indicators, therefore, are also an expression of values. (p 9)
Paraphrasing Albert Einstein, indicator sets should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. The simplest solution would be to agree on a single indicator. What that work?
For ages people have been judged by a single indicator: their wealth. But that single magic figure of x million dollars, or y hundred hectares of land, or z head of cattle implicitly expressed much more than property: it expressed the ability to buy sufficient food, to build a comfortable house, to feed even a large family, to live in luxury, to educate children, to pay for health care, and to support oneself in old age. And it implied that under these circumstances one could be reasonably happy. In other words, under prevailing conditions, wealth could be used as an aggregate indicator for completely different dimensions of life contributing to general happiness. But it could not account for personal tragedy or disability, and wealth would fail as an indicator for happiness if, say, the children were killed in an accident. In real life we usually need more than one indicator to capture all important aspects of a situation. A single indicator can never tell the whole story. (Bossel, 1999, P 11-12)
A single indicator like GDP cannot capture all vital aspects of sustainable development. The fascination with a single indicator has carried over to economics and national development, with a rather bizarre twist: economics have not focused on per capita wealth (of financial assets, land or resources), but- in addition to an indicator that essentially measures the rate at which natural resource wealth is being depleted- the faster, the better. This is the GDP indicator – gross domestic product- the total money value of the annual flow of goods and services produced in an economy. This includes all goods and services, irrespective of their contribution to national development: social goods (such as education, food and housing) as well as social bad (such as cost of crime, pollution, car accidents, disability and poor health). Since, with current technology, each of these goods and services is associated with significant consumption of non-renewable resources and generation of environmental pollution, GDP is now mainly a measure of how fast resources are squandered and converted into money flows, irrespective of their effect on society (Cobb et al, 1995, pp. 59-78).
Ad hoc or trial-and-error selection of indicators is inadequate. In response to the deficiencies of the aggregate indicator concept, some researchers prefer to use more or less extensive lists of indicators covering the problem area under investigation (United Nations, February 1996) and World Bank, Monitoring Environmental Progress, Washington D.C., 1995). While they are an improvement over the aggregate indicator concept, these lists must be criticized on several counts: 1. They are derived ad hoc, without a systems theoretical framework to reflect the operation and viability of the total system; 2. They always reflect the specific expertise and research interest of their authors; 3. As a consequence of 1 and 2, they are overly dense in some areas (multiple indicators for essentially the same concern), and spare or even empty in other important areas. In other word they are not a systematic and complete reflection of the total system i.e., human society in interaction with its natural environment (Bossel, 1999, p 13).
In order to define an indicator set for the assessment of societal development, we must first identify the different relevant sectors or subsystems of the societal system. We must include the system that constitute society as well as the systems on which human society depends. A useful distinction of subsystems is the following: individual development, social system, government, infrastructure, economic system, resources and environment (Bossel, 1998).
Jorgenson and Fraument purports that it is only in recent decades with the study of productivity that the notion of human capital has come to the forefront in economics. Although there is now a growing body of academic research on the subject, there exist no official estimates of human capital in Canada (or any other country for that matter) at this time. They added it is important to bear in mind the distinction between human capital and labor. Human capital comprises the stock of educated and experienced workers in the economy, and labor is the output of this stock. Of course, labor has been studied by economists since the beginning of their science. The explicit study of human capital as the stock from which labor flows in, however, more recent (Jorgenson and Fraument, 1998).
Health is an important indicator of development. But it is a problem to get a reliable source of health data. Therefore, we are looking at some reliable source. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has made major efforts in recent years to strengthen the collection and reporting of comparative statistics in the field of health and the assessment of health systems. It has produced a CD-ROM on health data containing 1200 health indicators across 29 countries for the period 1960-1999. The OECD also recently developed a System of Health Accounts (OECD, A System of Health Accounts, 2000) that provides a set of comprehensive, consistent and flexible accounts to meet the needs of government and private sector analysts and policy makers. These accounts constitute a common framework for enhancing the comparability of data over time and across countries and suggest links to non-monetary indicators. The World Bank has also done considerable work in assessing the health of the world’s population. For example, a recent study entitled MEASURING COUNTRY PERFORMANCE ON HEALTH: selected indicators for 115 countries (World Bank, 1999) provide comprehensive data on health to assess trends in most countries in the world.
Indicators of sustainable development based on the concept of capital should provide direct measures of the quantity and quality of capital. Indicators of this sort are the first order choice. Not all capital lends itself to direct measurement, however. Ecosystems in particular are not observable in a quantitative sense and even evaluating them in a qualitative sense is not straightforward. A second order choice of indicator in these cases can be developed by considering the outcomes of the functioning of capital. Presumably, if the outcomes of capital functioning remain of constant quantity or quality over time, then one can conclude that the capital itself remains intact. A third order choice of indicator would look at the demand for capital services. While indicators of this sort say nothing about the actual quantity or quality of capital available, they do measure how the use of the capital evolves over time. Presumably, if the demand for capital is steadily increasing, eventually the point will be reached where it will outstrip the capacity of the capital to provide service. (Smith R. et al., 2001).
Resnick and colleagues (1997) used the term school connectedness to describe adolescents’ perception of safety, belonging, respect and feeling cared for at school. In a cross-sectional analysis of risk and protective factors for eight different health risk outcomes among adolescents, Resnick et al. (1997) identified school connectedness as the only school-related variable that was protective for every single outcome. Widespread dissemination of this finding along with its intuitive appeal, has led to an eagerness of the part of state health departments and school boards to monitor how well they are doing in terms of promoting school connectedness (Resnick et al, 823-32).
It is well recognized that environmental indicators are vitally needed to capture trends in ways that policy makers and others can grasp immediately. As Mathews and Tunstall(1991) have pointed out “economic planning would be unthinkable without GNP figures, unemployment rates, and the like; so would social planning without such indicators as life expectancy and rates of fertility, infant mortality and literacy. Yet, environmental policy-making has no comparable measures today”. New are needed to guide policy-makers in their assessment of environmental quality and to enable they integration of environmental, economic and social concerns for sustainable development planning. Such indicators will be a vital ingredient in the development and monitoring of national strategies for sustainable development.
Dalal-Clayton (1993) claims that it will be extremely important to avoid focusing on indicators that is difficult or impossible to measure in developing countries. Simple and practical indices are required. He adds GDP is perhaps the most used hard measure of development, but it fails to allow for capital maintenance of natural assets and takes limited account of the contribution of the environment to economic activity. As a consequence, these measures might actually discourage the implementation of su8stainaaabel development policies, particularly in countries with an economy which is heavily dependent on the use of natural resources.
Holmberg (1991) has suggested a typology of the indicators that might be considered:
· Environmental indicators-measuring changes in the state of the environment
· Sustainability indicators- measuring the distance between that change and a sustainable state of the environment.
· Sustainable development indicators- measuring progress towards the broader goal of sustainable development in the national context.
Social development indicators:
Standards of living are difficult to measure, but indicators of social development do exist. One of the crudest measures is Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, determined by the value of all goods and services produced within a region over a given time period, averaged per person. A more advanced metric, called the Human Development Index (HDI), considers life expectancy, education, and GDP. The highest HDI ranked countries in the world are Iceland and Norway, with the United States ranked 12th (United Nations, 2008) Several of the indicators discussed below are used to measure progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)- a set of targets agreed upon by United Nations member states as crucial for global human progress. There are targets for reducing extreme poverty, hunger, disease, and environmental impacts. Africa is frequently cited because of the number and severity of difficulties in the region.
The U.S. population in over 300 million and the world population are over 6.7 billion (United States Census Bureau, 2009).
The global population is projected to reach 9.2 billion in 2050, with 6.4 billion people living in urban areas- nearly double the number in urban areas in 2007 (United Nations Population Division, 2008).
Some of the most significant issues affecting population in 2007, as reported by governments around the world, include: HIV/AIDS, infant and child mortality, maternal mortality, adolescent fertility, and life expectancy at birth (United Nations Population Division, 2007).
Fertility rate is the number of births per woman of child-bearing age. World fertility rate is expected to fall from 2.56 children per women in 2005-2010 to 2.02 in 2045-2050 (United Nations Population Division, 2009) As of 2009, fertility rate is still as high as 7 in some parts of Africa; in the U.S. it is 2.05 (CIA World Fact book, 2009).
According to a United Nations report, contraceptive use is increasing globally. However, in at least 43 countries more than 20% of the women of reproductive age have an unmet need for family planning, and 30 of these countries are in Africa (United Nations Population Division, 2009).
The U.S. is one of only three developed countries with an adolescent birth rate greater than 30 (per 1000 births) (United Nations Population Division, 2009).
Standard of living:
In 2005 there were 1.4 billion people living below the world poverty line of $1.25 USD per day, down from 1.9 billion in 1981. The World Bank Chief Economist experts to achieve the MDG to cut 1990 poverty levels in half by 2015 (World Bank, 2008).
The Gain Index, a measurement of wealth distribution (0= perfect equality, 1=all wealth concentrated), ranks Denmark, Japan, and Sweden as having the highest income distribution equality. Of the 125 countries with a Gain Index score, the U.S. is ranked 71st (United Nations, 2008).
In 2007 over 12% of the total U.S. population, or 37 million people, lived in poverty- e.g., income under $21,027 for family of 4 with 2 children. Rates were especially high for Hispanic and Black populations, with more than 20% of each group living in poverty (Carmen, 2009).
Approximately 335,000 people are homeless in the U.S (UNFAO, 2006).
The average disposable income spent on food, beverage, and tobacco ranges from 17% in high-income countries to 53% in low-income countries. On average, Americans spend less than 10% while Nigerians spend 73% (USDA, 2003).
Globally, 30% of death of children under 5 is caused by under nutrition (WHO, 2009).
The Green Revolution led to large increases in agricultural yields, and helped feed the rapidly growing global population in the second half of the 20th Century. Sub-Saharan Africa was the only developing region where food production increased primarily because of increased crop area, not crop yield.
The UNFAO publishes a comprehensive list of food security statistics (UNFAO, 2006).
Water and Sanitation:
2.5 billion People lack access to proper sanitation. Coverage is lowest in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where only 1 of 3 people have proper facilities. Generally, urban areas also have significantly better sanitation coverage- 79% compared to 45% coverage in rural areas (WHO/UNICEF, 2008).
As of 2006, 87% of the world population had access to clean drinking water- 1.6 billion more people than in 1990. But in sub-Saharan Africa only 58% of the population has clean drinking water, and 18% of the population has to travel more than 30 minutes to get this water. In developing countries it’s most common for women to collect the water (WHO/UNICEF, 2008).
Privatization of water services can increase prices, which disproportionately affect the poor; companies also tend to avoid investment in low-income countries because of the high risk (Naren, 2006).
Healthcare and Disease:
In 2007, 90% of governments reported HIV/AIDS as a significant problem.4 Sub-Saharan Africa has only 12% of the world’s population but 66% of the HIV/AIDS cases- 22.0 million (Population Reference Bureau, 2008).
Diarrheal disease kills 1.8 million people annually- 90% are children under5. About 88% of the infections are attributable to unsafe drinking water, improper sanitation services, and hygiene (WHO, 2004).
In 2006, about 880,000 people died from malaria- 91% were in Africa and 85% were children under 5. Preventive measures like treated bed nets, indoor insecticide spraying, and anti-malarial drugs have reduced malarial deaths in
Africa, but current funding is insufficient (WHO, 2008).
Indoor cooking with fuel wood and animal dung results in 1.5 million deaths per year, more than 50% of which are children under 5 (United Nations, 2008).
Cardiovascular disease is the leading causes of death in the world. A healthy diet, regular physical activity, and avoiding tobacco could lower premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases and strokes by 80% (WHO, 2009).
Globally, about 150 million people incur catastrophic healthcare costs each year (greater than 40% of household’s capacity to pay) (WHO, 2008).
Education and Employment:
Socioeconomic status is a strong predictor of health, and is typically determined by education, income, and occupation. One study found that education is the single strongest indicator of good health.
Between 1991 and 2005, primary school enrollment in Sub-Saharan Africa increased from 52% to 72%, but is still far below the 2005 world average of 87%.
In at least a dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, and Yemen, the illiteracy rate easy at least 25% higher for females than males. In Afghanistan the female illiteracy rate is 87%, the highest in the world (ILO, 2007).
Globally, unemployment rates vary from less than 1% to greater than 90% (CIA World Fact book, 2009).
Most global warming is “very likely” (>90% certainty) caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. In the 21st Century, natural and systems will likely experience increasing risk of extinction for 20-30% of plant and animal species, coastal flooding and erosion, heat waves, droughts, tropical storm intensity, and health risks associated with malnutrition and water-related diseases. Declines in crop productivity in lower latitudes and freshwater availability are likely. Peer communities are especially vulnerable to climate change because of their low adaptive capacity and high dependence on climate conditions (e.g., rain for agriculture) (IPCC, 2007).
The Stern Review found that investing 1% of global GDP annually in greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions could avert a permanent reduction of 5.20% GDP per capita, due to climate change impacts (Stern et al, 2006) The intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that regional GHG mitigation costs vary considerably, but range from -1% (a net grain) to 5.5% of GDP on average globally (IPCC, 2007).
Indicators of development (World Bank, 2010):