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Compter ce qui compte vraiment en matière de développement

NEW YORK – Pour la grande majorité des gens, le « développement » est surtout mesuré par la quantité de changement – dont la progression du revenu moyen national par habitant, l’espérance de vie et le niveau d’éducation. L’indice de développement humain (IDH), un indice statistique composite des progrès réalisés par chaque pays, que supervise mon bureau au sein du Programme des Nations unies pour le Développement, compare les statistiques concernant ces trois domaines pour classer les pays les uns par rapport aux autres.

Mais si ces paramètres sont utiles, ils ne suffisent pas à rendre compte de manière pertinente du développement. En fait, pour comprendre à quel point un pays est développé, nous devons également appréhender la manière dont la vie des individus est affectée par le progrès. Et à cette fin, nous devons évaluer la qualité des changements qui interviennent.

Lorsque les statisticiens comparent les pays, ils ont besoin de données équivalentes. Pour comparer les taux de scolarisation, par exemple, les chercheurs notent le nombre d’étudiants enregistrés dans chaque pays et le comparent au nombre de tous les enfants en âge d’être scolarisés (ce qui peut être un défi en soi dans les pays en développement dont les registres ne sont pas toujours normalisés).

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