Foundation for Effective Governance held a conference "International Indices: a pretty picture or a tool for decision-making?"
“We believe in the importance of indices. Indices provide useful information, but one must know how to read this information correctly. Indices do not usually draw conclusions, but they reveal the tendencies. Different rankings reflect different aspects of economy, education, public institutions, etc. To use this information, one must learn to interpret it”, stated Natalya Izosimova, Director of the FEG.
During the conference, experts supported Ms. Izosimova’s statement that indices are an important, but not a decisive tool for shaping national policy.
“The position in an international ranking is not the main goal for a country, but this information may help choose the right direction in shaping the policy”, believes Stephan Mergenthaler, associate director for Strategic Foresight with the World Economic Forum. In his opinion, the assessment data reflected in international rankings should be studied in a proper context rather than treated as an absolute truth.
Igor Burakovsky, Director of the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting, shared this view and maintained that international rankings should not become an ultimate goal of the country’s economic policy. “I think Ukraine has childish admiration of indices. I don’t understand how moving up several slots can become the goal of the economic policy. This isn’t serious if the goal is merely a good result in Doing Business”, he added.
Lee Saw Hoon, Productivity Corp Senior Director of Global Competitiveness, Malaysia, also emphasized the importance of proper handling of international rankings. “We monitor more than twenty international indices and rankings. The problem is that these charts use different methodology, and one should be well familiar with it, because often different rankings present contradictory results. You may be a leader in one ranking and an outsider in another, and you will be lost why this happens, because at the first sight, these rankings look identical”, she elaborated.
Vitaliy Leibin, editor-in-chief of Russian Reporter – a consumer and a producer of rankings (his magazine compiles rankings of major Russian cities) – believes that one should take decisive steps rather than chase higher points. He makes an example of Kaluga district in the Russian Federation, which is a car building cluster in the country. “The effect of Kaluga district’s economic miracle was reflected in Doing Business, but not because general results were improved, but because local official stopped taking bribes and allocated ample land and infrastructure for construction”, noted the expert from Russia.
During the conference, the Foundation for Effective Governance, presented its new analytical digest: “Ukraine in the world: review of international indices”. It comprises almost all acknowledged international indices and rankings, such as the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, the World Competitiveness Yearbook by the Institute for Management Development, the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, and the Index of Economic Freedom produced by the Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wall Street Journal.