Governance by Indicators: Global Power Through Quantification and Rankings

ISBN : 9780199658244

Kevin Davis; Angelina Fisher; Benedict Kingsbury; Sally Engle Merry
504 Pages
164 x 237 mm
Pub date
Jul 2012
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The use of indicators as a technique of global governance is increasing rapidly. Major examples include the World Bank's Doing Business Indicators, the World Bank's Good Governance and Rule of Law indicators, the Millennium Development Goals, and the indicators produced by Transparency International. Human rights indicators are being developed in the UN and regional and advocacy organizations. The burgeoning production and use of indicators has not, however, been accompanied by systematic comparative study of, or reflection on, the implications, possibilities, and pitfalls of this practice. This book furthers the study of these issues by examining the production and history of indicators, as well as relationships between the producers, users, subjects, and audiences of indicators. It also explores the creation, use, and effects of indicators as forms of knowledge and as mechanisms of making and implementing decisions in global governance. Using insights from case studies, empirical work, and theoretical approaches from several disciplines, the book identifies legal, policy, and normative implications of the production and use of indicators as a tool of global governance.


1. Governance by Indicators
2. The Dynamism Of Indicators
3. Taming and Framing Indicators: A Legal Reconstruction of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
4. Problems of Power in the Design of Indicators of Safety and Justice in the Global South
5. Immunization Coverage Indicators: Technology of Public Health Governance
6. State Failure: The U.S. Fund for Peace Failed States Index
7. Corporations, Indicators, and Human Rights: A Material Semiotics View
8. Trends in Mission-Driven Funding: New Impact Indicators for a New Impact Industry
9. Legal Yardsticks: International Financial Institutions As Legal Diagnosticians And Remedial Agents
10. Measuring Human Rights: U.N. Indicators In Critical Perspective
11. Internally Displaced Population in Colombia: A Case Study on the Domestic Aspects of Indicators as Technologies of Global Governance
12. The Use Of Indicators To Measure Government Responses To Human Trafficking
13. Fighting Human Trafficking or Instituting Authoritarian Control? The Political Cooptation of Human Rights Protection in Belarus
14. Rights-Based Humanitarian Indicators In Post-Earthquake Haiti
15. Accountability In The Generation Of Governance Indicators
16. Beyond Supply and Demand: A Political-Economic Conceptual Model of Measurement Standards for Global Markets
17. Public Regulation Of Global Indicators

About the author: 

Kevin Davis is Beller Family Professor of Business Law at New York University's School of Law.; Angelina Fisher is Programme Director at NYU's Institute for International Law and Business.; Benedict Kingsbury is Murray and Ida Becker Professor of Law at New York University's School of Law.; Sally Engle Merry is Professor of Anthropology, Law, and Society at New York University.

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