Context and the Advancement of a Global Science of Human Development: A Commentary

Document Type



Institute for Human Development


United Nations agencies mandated to address the needs of children around the developing (Majority) world, routinely create large global data sets mostly for purposes of surveillance and strategic planning of development aid. UNICEF's Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) have produced one of the largest sources of internationally comparable data on women and children. This monograph creatively and elegantly harnesses MICS data on 41 low- and middle-income countries to shed light on risk and protective factors associated with growing up a boy or girl in the developing world. In this commentary, I assess the monograph's contribution to the progress that our field must make toward greater geo-ecological and cultural inclusiveness of its knowledge base. I do so in the context of scholarship that is increasingly and justifiably questioning the relevance of mainstream developmental science outside the Euro-American world. I conclude that notwithstanding the limitations inherent in the data set, Bornstein, Putnick, Lansford, Deater-Deckard, and Bradley have done our field a great service by moving us further on a trajectory toward a more global science.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development