Original Article
What Do the Worldwide Governance Indicators MeasureM.A. Thomas
The Johns Hopkins University, USA.Abstract As policymakers and researchers focus more on the question of the impact of governance in economic development, they have required measures of the quality of governance to set
policy or to conduct analyses. A number of measures of the quality of governance have been created.
Among these are the Worldwide Governance Indicators, which rank countries on six aspects
of ‘good governance’. Critics have focused on problems of bias or lack of comparability that raise
questions about the utility of these indicators. However, a more fundamental question is that
of whether the indicators have ‘construct validity’ – whether they measure what they purport to
measure. This paper considers the construct validity of the indicators and raises the question of
whether researchers and policymakers are relying on wrong data, rather than poor data.
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Les responsables politiques et les chercheurs ont besoin de mesures concretes de la qualite de la
gouvernance afin de pouvoir determiner l’impact de celle-ci, en particulier par rapport au deve? ? loppement economique. Un certain nombre d’indicateurs ont recemment ete crees, parmi lesquels les
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Indicateurs de gouvernance dans le monde de la Banque Mondiale, qui classent les pays a partir de
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? six criteres de ) bonne gouvernance *. L’utilite de ces indicateurs a ete mise en question pour des
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raisons de distorsion ainsi que des problemes de manque de comparabilite. Cependant, une question
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plus fondamentale est celle de la validite theorique de ces indicateurs, c’est-a-dire, s’ils mesurent ce
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qu’ils pretendent mesurer. Cet article considere la validite conceptuelle de ces indicateurs et cherche a
determiner dans quelle mesure les chercheurs et les responsables politiques ne sont pas en train de se
baser sur des donnees fausses,…

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