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From accuracy to accountability: subjecting global indicators to the rule of law

  • Benoit Frydman (a1)
Abstract

This paper presents a double genealogy of indicators as instruments of governance. These have their roots both in the use of statistical tools for normative purposes by states and in the development of indicators within firms as preferred instruments of ‘new management’. The paper argues that social indicators not only convey information, but are genuine tools of global governance and that, for this reason, their legitimacy depends not only on their accuracy, but also on their accountability. If indicators are intended to produce or effectively produce regulatory effects, they should be subjected to the rule of law and to judicial review. The essay ends by formulating four main principles that these indicators should comply with.

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bfrydman@ulb.ac.be
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I would like to express my warm gratitude to Julian McLachlan, who translated this paper from French to English, and to David Nelken, Mathias Siems and David Restrepo for their encouragement, their patience and their support. This research has been funded by the Interuniversity Attraction Poles Programme (IUAP) initiated by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). More particularly, this paper has been written in the framework of the IUAP project, ‘The Global Challenge of Human Rights Integration: Towards a Users’ Perspective’ (2012–2017): www.hrintegration.be.

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