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The Power of Global Performance Indicators
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: February 2020
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online ISBN: 9781108763493
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Book description

Global performance indicators (GPIs), such as ratings and rankings, permeate nearly every type of human activity, internationally and nationally, across public and private spheres. While some indicators aim to attract media readership or brand the creator's organization, others increasingly seek to influence political practices and policies. The Power of Global Performance Indicators goes beyond the basic questions of methodological validity explored by others to launch a fresh debate about power in the modern age, exploring the ultimate questions concerning real-world consequences of GPIs, both intended and unintended. From business regulation to terrorism, education to foreign aid, Kelley and Simmons demonstrate how GPIs provoke bureaucracies, shape policy agendas, and influence outputs through their influence of third parties such as donors and market actors and, potentially, even broader global authority structures.

Reviews

'Global rankings have become an institutionalized benchmark that drives policymaking and social perceptions of excellence. In this wide-ranging volume, Judith Kelley and Beth Simmons have summoned the best minds to reorient how we think about global dynamics.'

Mauro F. Guillen - The Wharton School

'Do indicators matter? The Power of Global Performance Indicators offers impressive empirical evidence that they do. As the use of quantitative measures as a mode of governance mushrooms, countries and leaders become increasingly concerned about their reputations and rankings. This collection of studies provides invaluable evidence about how and why they work. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the trajectory of governance strategies today.'

Sally Engle Merry - New York University

'Rankings have become a stealth but ubiquitous feature of our world. If there is an activity, there is a ranking. If there is an actor, it is ranked from several vantages points. States sometimes care about how there are ranked and judged, and sometimes they even care enough to change their behavior or manipulate how they are ranked. What makes this collection truly impressive is not just the evidence that ranking matter but the careful, and sometimes quite methodologically creative, demonstration of how they matter. An important book that is a significant contribution to the literature of international relations.'

Michael Barnett - George Washington University

'Especially since the 1990s, policy entrepreneurs have used comparative indicators of performance to affect policies of organizations that depend on impersonal transnational flows of resources. The Power of Global Performance Indicators demonstrates that in contemporary world politics, power can come less from the barrel of a gun than from marshalling and framing social science data.'

Robert O. Keohane - Princeton University, New Jersey

'In my list of the best books on global governance, this one about Global Performance Assessments ranks very high. It scores high on all dimensions of a book performance assessment: great and innovative theme, good theoretical grounding, well-executed research, and very interesting findings. It is a Triple-A book.'

Michael Zürn - Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University

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