Thursday, June 14, 2007

Metric Ideas culled from the news

Here is a sampling of some important metric ideas culled from news stories over the past few days. The news stories themselves may not have actually called out the specific metrics listed. Rather they reported on some aspect that might have bearing to how well or poorly things were going on the ground in Iraq.

For example, I came across an article mentioning the idea that many Iraqi parliament members live abroad and do not physically show up for sessions. That led me to craft the first 4 metrics that might give us some sense at least of Parliament activity even if we cannot easily or directly measure their progress towards oil-revenue sharing, de-Baathification and so on.
  1. Number of members of Iraqi parliament currently living aboard
  2. Number of hours of parliament sessions per day
  3. Number of parliament members attending each day
  4. Number of parliament votes each day
  5. Number of sectarian death squad killings
  6. Number of sectarian attacks
  7. Number of bodies in the street in cities like Baghdad
  8. Number of attacks in al-Anbar province
  9. Violence in Diyala Provinces (deaths, injuries, attacks)
  10. Violence in Ninevah Provinces (deaths, injuries, attacks)
  11. Number of suicide bombings
  12. Number of suicide attacks
  13. Number of Baghdad neighborhoods protected by local militias - Shia, Sunni, mixed
  14. Number of Baghdad neighborhoods protected by coalition, Iraqi military, Iraqi police
  15. Number of Baghdad neighborhoods not protected
  16. Percentage of Iraqis in favor of partition of the country by Shia, Sunni, Kurd, other
  17. Number and % of violent deaths come from people just being shot down
  18. Number and % of violent deaths violent deaths from US military activities
  19. Number and % of deaths from bombing Iraqi cities (deaths from aerial strikes)
  20. US troop level in Baghdad
  21. Baghdad morgue data on bodies received per day
  22. # of attacks on Sunni Arabs by the predominantly Shiite government security forces
  23. number of Iraqis displaced from their homes per month
  24. Number of militias currently known
  25. Percentage of those militias that have been disarmed
  26. Current militia troop levels
  27. Inflation rate
  28. Oil production rate in Millions of Barrels per day
  29. Degree to which demand for electricity outstrips supply
For some of these, we have already suggested additional metrics based on disaggregation (e.g. by reporting on totals as well as breaking down the results by ethnic groups). Other metrics listed above are also aggregates and could similarly and beneficially be disaggregated for additional insights.

In my view, all these are important and yet even though we have listed 29 indicators, this is likely just scratching the surface.

If we wish to make sense of what's going on in Iraq, we really need to be able to literally SEE the trends in everyone of these. We're struggling right now since this is just not happening.

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