1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Donald McGranahan

Former Director

Director of UNRISD from 1967 to1977, an experimental psychologist by training, Donald McGranahan’s speciality became the measurement of levels of living standards. His work in the 1950s and early 1960s laid the foundations for later UN work on social indicators, some of which are still used today. It was McGranahan who had obtained a grant from the Government of the Netherlands to set up UNRISD. He wrote its terms of reference and subsequently joined the Institute as Director in 1967. His preferred field was measuring development and applying measurement techniques to social and economic analysis. This involved critical analysis of traditional concepts and data, rejecting what was clearly false and questioning the sometimes inappropriate use of popular statistical techniques. Major projects under his directorship included research into the social implications of the Green Revolution, indicators at the local level, the role of cooperatives in development, and the unified approach to economic and social development.