Chapter 1: A curious obsession with ranking
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Indicators and indices, where an index is an amalgam of indicators, continue to remain popular with government and non-government organisations, international agencies, the media and the public. They are often used to rank the performance of service providers, including those involved in education and health care, and these 'league tables' have also been widely applied to rank the performance of nation states; with the latter often referred to as 'global benchmarking'. This chapter explores the historical development of ranking by performance in a variety of fields and introduces the aims and objectives of the research set out in this monograph.