Where science met policy: Governing by indicators and the OECD’s INES programme

Sotiria Grek, Christian Ydesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on archival sources, interviews, and research literature, this article offers new insights into the making, structure and long-term effects of the International Educational Indicators (INES) programme of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The article argues that INES was crucial in setting the OECD on the path to becoming a global education policy actor. Although science has informed policy making for centuries, the 1980s mark the start of a much closer imbrication of evidence-making for policy. By focusing on those renewed encounters of education science with policy-making, the article examines the INES indicators as a boundary infrastructure. It shows the ways that INES materialised many of the OECD ambitions at the time. In other words, through INES, the OECD gained the unique confidence, expertise, and reputation in the field to deliver large international comparative works on a global scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-137
Number of pages16
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number2
Early online date24 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • boundary infrastructure
  • boundary object
  • education
  • INES project
  • international organisations
  • OECD

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