Follow-up on “indicator alphabet soup”

Looks like my post on indicators and indices was more timely than I thought. This week saw the release of the 2010 Global Hunger Index. More detail here. I guess snazzy maps now come standard with all multidimensional indices.

Also, evidently the World Bank’s Martin Ravallion already wrote about what I was trying to say in my previous post. I haven’t read his article yet (given my backlog on blogs, grad school work, and life in general) but I’m sure it’s more coherent and articulate than what I wrote. An excerpt from the abstract:

The parsimony of these indices is often appealing — collapsing multiple dimensions into just one, yielding unambiguous country rankings, and possibly reducing concerns about measurement errors in the component series. But the meaning, interpretation and robustness of these indices are often unclear. … [N]agging doubts remain about the value-added of mashup indices, and their policy relevance, relative to the “dashboard” alternative of monitoring the components separately.

Full article (“Mashup indices of development”) here.

(Hat tip to Duncan Green for both.)