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Visualisation of MDG implementation with Time Distance Progress Chart
Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Are we ahead or behind in time comparing MDG implementation for 10 selected
indicators for World regions, China and India with the line to the 2015 MDG targets?

Time Distance Progress Chart of Millennium Development Goals implementation

We are using data from the UN, The Millennium Development Report 2012, New York, July 2012 and present the MDG implementation in the time distance perspective. The MDG 2012 Progress Chart (United Nations 2012) gives a quick assessment over 16 selected key targets, as it can deal also with qualitative judgments. For a more restricted number of 10 selected indicators for which numerical estimates are available we complement the UN Progress Chart with Time Distance Progress Chart of monitoring the progress of implementation.

Time distance is first and foremost important as an innovative concept of looking at data in a novel complementary and intuitively understandable way. The application to monitoring is easy to understand and to communicate; it is like comparing actual arrivals with the train (airplane, bus) timetable. S-time-distance measures deviation in time showing whether the actual developments are ahead or behind in time from path to the 2015 MDG targets (+ time lag, - time lead).

Are we ahead or behind in time comparing with the line to the 2015 MDG targets?

The table below examines the situation in more details for Developing Regions, 7 world regions, China, and India. The situation differs among the world regions, but the overall situation shows that for about 26% of cases of 10 selected indicators from all 8 MDG areas the 2015 targets were already achieved, for another 24% of cases the actual developments were ahead of the line to the 2015 targets. From about one half of the cases that were lagging behind about 17% were lagging more than 6 years, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. China as the most populated country shows excellent results, for six out of ten indicators it already reached their 2015 MDG targets.

Time Distance Progress Chart of MDG implementation for world regions

For each of the analysed units graphical presentation of MDG implementation are provided in the PowerPoint file below. The table above also allows comparisons of implementation across indicators and regions at a glance. From the health domain the three selected indicators stand out as the cases where the MDG targets (with one exception) have not been achieved in any of the world regions. This is true also for the net enrolment ratio in the primary education where the target of full enrolment was set too high in view of the starting positions.

It should be reasonably easy to incorporate the S-time-distance methodology for monitoring implementation of the MDGs in the work of the UN, the World Bank and other agencies or countries on these issues, both at macro and at micro levels.

Human Development Index (HDI) in Time Distance Perspective (1980-2011)
Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The time dimension for HDI can be presented and analysed in a new complementary way based on time series data from UNDP Human Development Report 2011

HDI is an established composite indicator. Time series of HDI are now available for selected years for the period 1980-2011 in the UNDP Human Development Report 2011. From the same data a broader dynamic view can be established if the usual static statistical measures are complemented with S-time-matrix format, S-time-distance and S-time-step measures to analyse intertemporal changes in composite indicators. The position is that HDI analysis needs a two-dimensional dynamic framework: static disparity and time distance perspective.

The analysis contains analysis of 187 countries subdivided into the four human development groups: very high, high, medium, and low. For each of the groups the countries are presented in time matrices for selected HDI levels and in the corresponding time matrices for S-time-step estimates, for the available data for the period 1980-2011. In addition to that, summary matrices present the world view over four HD groups and world regions, for BRICS countries and for selected countries from all groups to cover the whole range of 187 countries. The range of HDI values over the three decades is 0.18 - 0.94. There were substantial improvements but disparities remain very large. Time matrix format also provides a first level visualisation tool. China was one the best performers and it is selected as an interesting benchmark to which other countries are compared.

China is still nearly 30 years behind Argentina at the lower end of the very high human development group; in turn Argentina is about 30 years behind the leading countries like Norway and Australia. About 20 countries of the low group have still not reached the level of China in 1980. To indicate the magnitude of the time lag between the lowest and the highest countries we can use indicator life expectancy: the two thirds of the low HD group are lagging benchmark Sweden between 90 and 130 years.

The most important conclusion of the analysis is that different measures provide very different perceptions of the order of magnitude of disparities: 1. static disparities in HDI appeared small; 2. time distances in HDI were large. For a more realistic dynamic picture we need both.

Empirical facts e.g. show that the degree of the disparity for the HDI in time perspective is large between and within HD groups: very high group is leading the high group by more than 31 years, medium group is falling behind the high group for 27 years, low group is lagging medium group for 24 years. There are many other empirical conclusions that cannot be mentioned in the summary like the world view over four groups for Health, Education, and Income Index. S-time-step indicates how many years were needed to reach the next level of indicator. The greatest HDI dynamics was in medium group, which needed 1.5 years to increase one level of the HDI; on the average for the other three HD groups S-time-step for HDI was between 2.2 and 2.4 years. 

Just published: New book on time distance by Professor Pavle Sicherl
Thursday, 01 March 2012

Book: Time Distance in Economics and Statistics - New Insights from Existing Data

The book on time distance methodology by Professor Pavle Sicherl was published in Vienna. The time perspective, which no doubt exists in human perception when comparing different situations, is systematically introduced in comparative analysis both as a concept and as a quantifiable measure. Time distance is an innovative approach for looking at time-series data, it offers two improvements in the present state-of-the-art of comparative analysis.

The first one is analytical and statistical – two novel generic statistical measures S-time-distance and S-time-step are generalised to complement conventional measures in time series comparisons, regressions, models, forecasting and monitoring, and to provide from existing data new insights due to an added dimension of analysis. Expressed in time units they are intuitively understandable; they can be compared across variables, fields of concern, and units of comparison.

The second component is normative and theoretical, related to subjective perceptions, policy and welfare issues. Time distance concept can influence the perception and decisions of people when they are assessing their relative position in the society and across countries over time. Concept of the ‘overall degree of disparity’ combines static and time distance measures of disparity with the potential to bring new understanding in economics, management, research and statistics. Empirical applications analyse time distance differences between countries in the world, OECD and EU, regional disparities, transition depression, ICT and digital divide, and monitoring implementation of UN MDGs and Lisbon strategy in the EU.

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