Papers accepted to this conference can be presented within one of the three panels below or in the open sessions:

1.    Envisaging Development in the Contemporary Society: Theory and Public Debates

Development has become a global concern after the Second World War, when studies have coagulated in a stand-alone subject aimed at analyzing the gaps between states, regions, as well as the inequalities among various social groups. Despite initial optimism and though the fact that the debate on development has gone global, inequalities have persisted, if not have grown bigger. In the vast literature dedicated to development and inequality, two paradigms seem to orient the scholarly debate: the individualistic approach, and the structuralist approach.

We welcome contributions that revisit, from a theoretical and/or empirical standpoint, the main theories in the field, taking into consideration the current crises, as well as the changing patterns of globalization. The organizers are also interested in the revision of the fundamental concepts related to the topic: development vs. underdevelopment, inequality, wealth vs. poverty, first world vs. second world vs. third world, etc.

2.    Measuring Development: a Difficult Endeavour for Researchers and Policy-Makers

Irrespective of the explanatory paradigm, designing a proper and relevant system for measuring development has proven to be no easy task for analysts, especially that internal inequalities have now become the number one issue facing most of the world's economies. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Income (GNI) have long been regarded as emblematic for measuring development. These indicators allow us to make comparisons between countries, regions, and continents. Often presented as landmarks of development or of national performance, both GPD and GNI are used to categorize countries into "poor" and "rich" and, based on this, to orient macro-policies and decisions. However, in the past decade, criticism over the relevance and usefulness of GDP, GNI, and their derivatives emerged. This criticism highlights several limitations of these classical measurements

Under this topic, contributions may include, but are not restricted to: exploring the basic dimension of development; identifying indicators that measure the deepening inequalities within nations, as well as between nations; developing tools and instruments, such as online data aggregators, that enhance evidence-based policy making capabilities.

3.    Communicating Development: How to Make Sense in Big Data Series

Development is far from being solely a “technical” problem; it should be seen as a puzzle waiting to be solved by the society at such; it might sometimes involve a massive modernization of traditional relations, traditional paradigms, traditional views on education and health.  In order to engage society in this process, the development goals, as well as the progress towards those goals, need to be communicated in a straightforward and suggestive manner. The increased relevance of statistical data needs to be accompanied by transparency and visibility in the national public spheres.

Furthermore, public trust meaningfully impacts the main economic and political trends. For instance, it is argued that financial/ economic crises are frequently a matter of “mood”, as well as a matter of economy. Consequently, measuring the publics’ trust in the national institutions, and their perception of the state of the nation needs to become part of the governing processes.

In this panel, we aim to identify, via the contributors, best practices in communicating development, new tools to improve the clarity and speed with which statistical data can be accessed by the wider public, and the distinctive features of the public/ political/ media discourse on development. Furthermore, we welcome investigations of the public opinion on issues related to the government performance and the state’s performance in different areas.