Title: Composite Indicators Between Analysis and Advocacy
Citation: SOCIAL INDICATORS RESEARCH vol. 81 p. 65-77
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC34898
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC34898
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: We explore to what extent composite indicators, capable of aggregating multi-dimensional processes into simplified, stylised concepts, are up to the task of underpinning the development of data based narratives for political advocacy. A recent OECD working paper (2005) offering ‘recommended practices’ for the construction of composite indicators is briefly illustrated, together with ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ associated with the use of aggregated statistical information. An attempt is made to summarise the terms of the controversy surrounding the use of composite indicators with practical and applied examples, as well as the mostly advocacy-driven spread of these measures in recent years. As an example, we focus on desirable narratives in support of the so-called Lisbon strategy and its ongoing revision, following one of the recommendation of a recent EU study (Kok et al., 2004), on how to streamline and reinvigorate the EU’s Lisbon Agenda. Finally we try to establish a link between the use of composite, even for analytic purposes, and the development of a robust culture of evaluation of policies based on information (Messerlin, 2005). Of these, we try to offer stylised examples – also from the recent literature (Sapir 2005) where composite indicators are used.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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