Setting the Stage: Types of Measures and Alternative Notions of Development

  • Asis Kumar BanerjeeEmail author
Part of the Themes in Economics book series (THIE)


This book is about how to measure development. Measures, however, can be of different types. In this chapter, we begin by describing different types of measures and specifying which particular type of measure we shall focus on in our context. Moreover, how we measure development is obviously also related to what we mean by development. The existing literature contains a number of alternative views in this regard. This chapter provides a detailed discussion of these views. Among the alternative approaches that it reviews are those based on welfarism (which includes utilitarianism as a special case), the theory of justice as fairness proposed by Rawls, subjective well-being (or happiness), the economic theory of fair allocations, the basic needs approach and the notions of functionings and capabilities. It then identifies the particular notion of development that will constitute the conceptual underpinning of the rest of the book. It also discusses the procedural matters that arise in connection with the operationalisation of this particular notion. It then proceeds to set out, in broad terms, the essential difference between the approach to the problem of development measurement adopted in this book and the approach taken in most of the existing literature on the matter. It ends with a preview of the rest of the book.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CalcuttaKolkataIndia

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