Thursday, June 07, 2007

Success isn't always in the metrics

If you think its touch to develop indicators of success for a philanthropic grant program, try measuring national happiness. Check out this post from the NewEconomist, which cites an economist's study of the ten indicators of "happy capitalism." They are:

1. High degree of trust in fellow citizens
2. Low amount of corruption
3. Low unemployment
4. High level of education
5. High income
6. High employment rate of older people
7. Small shadow economy
8. Extensive economic freedom
9. Low employment protection
10. High birth rate

If this kind of cluster analysis can be done on capitalism, surely we can figure out indicators for the success of foundation grants to after school programs, for malaria treatments, or for reductions in gun violence.

Of course, when thinking about indicators for philanthropic grants, one should also take heed of a comment posted about the above. It reads, and I quote, "No wonder people hate economists." Sometimes, success may not be in the metrics.

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