How are we going to measure productivity (in Goal 8 and elsewhere) anyway? Good question...

Dr. Dirk Willem te Velde tackles these thorny measurement questions over at the Business Fights Poverty SDG Zone here.

He looks into how we will come up with metrics on productivity for the following Goals/targets:

  • double agricultural productivity by 2030 (2.3);
  • achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus of high-value added and labour-intensive sectors (8.2); and
  • promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and by 2030 raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic employment, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries (9.2)

Drawing on research underway at the Overseas Development Institute, te Velde offers some initial proposals:

Using labour productivity and its decompositions is a useful step towards an SDG indicator.  One can argue about the appropriate labour productivity target for 2015-2030, but one option would be to extrapolate estimates for sub-Saharan African countries which range between 2-3% annual growth over the last decade, with structural change contributing around 0.75%.

A labour productivity target for the poorest countries will help to set an important signal to countries on the need to transform their economies for sustained job creation. Countries can then use these targets to consider appropriate policies and roles of public and private sector. Our work suggests the following important steps: (i) data analysis; (ii) policy analysis; (iii) policy implementation. These steps could yield important insights, e.g. on how much transformation is really taking place, what are the major constraints and policies for transformation, and how can such policies best be implemented. Thus a productivity target could be a first step in stimulating the right policy and institutional responses, domestic as well as international including development finance institutions.

Read more over at Business Fights Poverty's SDG Zone.