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Policy tends to drift toward areas in which success or failure can be quantified. “What we measure 8 People, Progress and Participation affects what we do,” says Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stigliz (Stiglitz et al. 2009), one of the leading proponents of developing new indicators of progress. Measurement thus cannot and should not be regarded as a value-neutral activity. Stiglitz and others argue that measurement tools should arise from a societal discussion of aims and desires: We must collectively decide what we want to be, and then develop indicators that help society reach these goals. It is that process or set of processes that the authors of this publication examine, but in an unusual way. Most research efforts to date have focused on analyzing the need for and the design of new measurement tools (see Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi, 2009, for a recent and thorough example), although some work has also been put into ensuring that such metrics are adopted and have a tangible impact on public debate and decision-making (see, for example, Scrivens and Iasiello (2010), the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (2011) and the European Commission-funded Policy Influence of Indicators (POINT) research project). By contrast, very little if any previous research has looked at the benefits that can flow specifically from the process of constructing such new measures – a process that typically brings together diverse stakeholders to discuss what progress means to them and how it can best be measured"
Excerpt taken from the preface by Armando García Schmidt