Making progress and catching up : comparative analysis for social policy-making
Policy-making involves making comparisons across both time and space. Data about conditions at a single point in time lack meaning. To evaluate progress we need to compare past and present performance, or present performance and future aspirations. This paper shows that the capacity of developing and developed nations to catch up depends not only on their starting point but also on whether they aim at a fixed or a moving target. It uses data about infant mortality and gender equality to show that conclusions differ not only according to nation but also according to the social condition being evaluated.--SCAD summary.