Gareth Wall

Exploring values and development priorities at the individual and local levels

Gareth WallLead supervisor Dr. Phil Amis, Second supervisor Professor Achin Chakrovarty (

This doctoral research focuses on the perceived discrepancy between aggregate multidimensional measurements of development at the local level, and often competing priorities for development within such communities. Despite wide recognition of the need for such measurements to be informed through public participation, debate and scrutiny (Sen 1999, Alkire 2002, Ravallion 2011) there is little divergence from the somewhat rigid non-participatory model developed for the supranational level.

Central hypothesis of the research
There is a significant mismatch between the portrayal of a community through conventional multidimensional measurements and the expressed perceptions of, and priorities for development by citizens.

Specific research questions
a. To what degree do sub-national Human Development Reports include more locally specific issues as the reference populations becomes more localised?
b. How can you aggregate individually expressed priorities to help inform public debate and public policy?  

Research setting and method
The first sub-national HDR was produced in India in 1995 with sub-state HDRs being introduced in 2005. These include district (Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal), Municipalities (Delhi and Mumbai) and sub-district - Panchayat – reports (Kerala).

The first of two research phases will be a comparative analysis of the multiple levels of human development reports: from the national, through state and district to the panchayat (village) identifying the conformities and deviations from the parent report(s) as the reference population become more localised.

The second phase is a ward-level aggregated Q-method analysis of individual adult citizen priorities following fieldwork interviews.


Gareth is undertaking doctoral research on local democracy and human development, looking at a method of aggregating deliberative individual priority-setting at the community/ ward level with fieldwork in Wayanad in Kerala, South India. His Ethical Review application number ERN_16-0061 was granted on March 23 2016. His PhD is split-site between the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham and the Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata.

Gareth is research officer at the Commonwealth Local Government Forum  and undertakes his doctoral studies on a part-time basis. Gareth worked at the Universities of Liverpool and Bath supporting student volunteering before undertaking two years of postgraduate studies at the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum in Kerala, South India.


Research interests

  • Multidimensional measurements of human development
  • Participatory local governance
  • Development knowledge
  • Development Studies

Other activities

Gareth is a member of the Development Studies Association (DSA), the Human Development and Capabilities Association (HDCA),  and the International Association Ladakh Studies (IALS ), serving on their governing councils as student representative to the DSA 2010-2015 and as Treasurer of the IALS  2010-2014 and HDCA 2013-2016. For many years, he directed the University Choirs at the Universities of Liverpool and Bath and still enjoys a good sing whenever possible.


Commonwealth Local Government Handbook 2015/2016, CLGF, London

Conference papers

Exploring values and development priorities at the individual and local levels – initial fieldwork finding. Human Development and Capabilities Association Conference, Tokyo.

The role of Social capital in the Sectoral System of Innovation, the Case of Vazakkulam Pineapple, Kerala, South India  Eldis Research seminar series University of Bradford, Indhira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, Mumbai.

Continued (Re)-Feminisation in Indian Manufacturing Industries: Exploitation and Empowerment, for ‘Rethinking culture& development: feminist crossings’, School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur Uni.

Agglomeration of Knowledge-Intensive Industries in South India – CDS, Kerala.

Youth Participation and Development – U8 Research papers compendium.

A comparative study of Development Studies Departments in India and the UK, 3rd International Conference on Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

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