Defining and Measuring Good Performance

As noted at the start of this book (2.1), people have different expectations and requirements from those who have authority over them.  Politicians can be deemed to be performing ‘well’ if they increase the acceptability of governance (2.3) to the population as a whole, taking account of the need for negotiability (2.4), inclusiveness (2.5), and prudence (2.6).  It is, though, not easy to objectively measure all aspects of their performance.

Overall performance in economic management is usually measured by GDP, which records the total wealth produced by a country, although its usefulness has been questioned in papers such as GDP as a Measure of Economic Well-being.  There are several other indicators – such as total employment, average wages, inflation, wealth and debt – which complement GDP by measuring other important aspects of economic satisfaction, but these also fail to take into account factors such as the quality of available goods and services.

Some objective indicators are available to measure performance in the Legal Dimension of power, such as crime statistics, successful prosecutions and references referred to courts of human rights.

Public perceptions of acceptable governance are largely conditioned, though, by media reporting – which can give very misleading impressions (



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