Over the last 30 years, the concept of policy coherence for development has received especial attention among academics, practitioners and international organizations. However, its quantification and measurement remain elusive. To address this challenge, we elaborate an index that measures the coherence of policy priorities for development, economic and otherwise. Our metric takes into account the country-specific constraints that governments face when trying to reach specific development goals. Hence, we put forward a new definition of policy coherence where allocative-efficient resource allocations are used as the metric's baseline. To demonstrate the usefulness and validity of our index, we analyze the cases of Mexico, Korea and Estonia, three developing countries that, arguably, joined the OECD with the aim of coherently establishing policies that could enable a catch-up process. We find that Korea shows significant signs of policy coherence, Estonia seems to be in the process of achieving it, and Mexico has unequivocally failed. Furthermore, our results highlight the limitations of assessing coherence in terms of naive benchmark comparisons using development-indicator data. Altogether, our framework sheds new light in a promising direction to develop bespoke analytic tools to meet the 2030 agenda.

Citation information

Guerrero, Omar A and Castañeda Ramos, Gonzalo, Quantifying the Coherence of Development Policy Priorities (2018). Available at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1902.00430

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