How can development be measured and how useful are these measures?…
How can development be measured and how useful are these measures?
Number of deaths under the age of 1 per 1000 births.
Understandable, can indicate healthcare, water quality and food supply
Developing countries have many unrecorded births, undisclosed figures, Other influences (e.g China's one child policy)
Big Mac Index
Informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity (PPP) between two countries and tests market exchange rates.
Crude birth rate
The number of people born per 1000 per year. High + low development.
Clear, future planning
political policies affect it, LIC figures inaccurate
Bangladesh(22/1000) and Italy (9/1000)
The % of people aged 15+ that can read and write.
Indicates education on offer, shows how many can't attend school
Disregards other skills, not enough schools or children aren't going?
Crude death rate
The number of people who die per 1000 per year. An indicator of health, water, food supply, accommodation and sanitation.
Indicates level of health
Doesn't give reasons for death, LICs inaccurate, ageing populations distort figures
Chad 14.1/1000 and Iceland 6.3/1000 in 2014.
Average value of goods and services produced by each person each year. Total earnings of the population are divided by population to get average earnings per person.
Sum total of a country's output over the course of a year. Usually measured in $ and calculated per capita.
Comparisons, aid allocation, state of economy, fairly easy to calculate.
corruption, hides uneven distribution and variety, more accurate in 'market economies'.
Aspects of development not easily quantifiable. Qualitative measures have been devolpee]d due to the recent emphasis on measuring development in terms of issues, such as freedom, security and sustainability rather than by statistics. They may be more problematic but reflect more accurately the ways in which development is now viewed.
- food, illness, old age security as well as security from aggressors.
- difficult to quantify comprehensively. The US emits 18% of the worlds carbon.
- Afghanistan under Taliban rule was not 'free', N. Korea
The use of both qualitative and quantitative measures is necessary for assessing the level of development of a given country and together can yield important and sometimes unexpected insights into development that neither qualitative or quantitative could provide on their own.
Limitations of indicators
Many can be misleading as they are averages and do not show how far the benefits of development are shared within a population. e.g car ownership increases living standards but increases pollution. As with all statistics, development indicators are sometimes incomplete or inaccurate. Also, for some countries data is not reliable.
More comprehensive as they measure more than one aspect of development.
Human Development Index (HDI) gives a country a score from 0 to 1 using three variable based on adjusted income, education and life expectancy. Norway is the highest (0.938) and Zimbabwe the least developed with (0.140). 
A - It's able to spot anomalies, can identify where poverty is greatest to focus aid.
D - Quantity not quality, all variables are dependent on wealth, no measure of human rights/ freedom.
Other composite indicators include: The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and The Gender Inequality Index (GII)
Benefits to indicators
They can allow us to use a figure for comparing countries
Countries can be ranked in order to fairly allocate aid payments.
Indicators give us an idea of what a country is like economically, socially and even environmentally.