When participation challenges the basic principles of the economy. The participatory construction of local alternative indicators

Democratizing measurement: Participatory indicators
By Anne Le Roy, Fiona Ottaviani

As economists, we are intrigued by the multiplication of participatory approaches to developing local alternative indicators. Why and how do many project managers resort to participatory methods and approaches? How best might we interpret such experiments, which could challenge many of the basic principles of economic science?This article elaborates on an analytical framework that aims to fulfil two purposes: firstly, it allows one to characterize the experiments in all their diversity; and secondly, it complements existing work, conducted primarily by political scientists. Indeed, our analysis highlights the changes in the epistemological posture and in the epistemic content of socio-economic observation brought about by the mobilization of the participatory approach.


  • participatory approaches
  • alternative indicators
  • quantification
  • convention
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