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Actionable Governance Indicators: Turning Measurement into Reform

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 September 2011

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The link between efficient and well-functioning institutions and the economic development of a country has become the core of the good governance effort. The focus on transparency and accountability as a means of improving those processes stems from a belief that well-designed underlying institutional arrangements for particular governance systems, i.e., rules of the game, along with a strengthening of organizational capacity to achieve mandates, can lead to better governance outcomes. This is particularly true in combination with regular monitoring of performance and publication of findings, so that citizens and policymakers can be in a position to make informed judgments about how these systems are functioning. This paper will begin with a discussion of aggregate indicators of governance, outlining both advantages and drawbacks to broad measurement approaches. It will then introduce a complementary approach to governance measurement that shifts the focus from broad concepts to actual governance mechanisms, but will also caution against simplistic divisions among types of indicators. Following that will be a discussion on the nature of actionability and its relationship to reform efforts, and an explanation of how actionable governance indicators (AGIs) can provide detailed information on the design, capacities, performance, and immediate impacts of governance systems. Finally, the paper will present scenarios in which actionable governance indicators were developed to capture information on: 1) the legal frameworks of income and asset disclosure, and 2) the implementation of disclosure systems. Data from both initiatives will be presented, along with the indicators.

Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press and the Authors 2011

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