“[…] it is hard to imagine that the debate on the use of composite indicators will ever be settled […] official statisticians may tend to resent composite indicators, whereby a lot of work in data collection and editing is “wasted” or “hidden” behind a single number of dubious significance. On the other hand, the temptation of stakeholders and practitioners to summarise complex and sometime elusive processes (e.g. sustainability, single market policy, etc.) into a single figure to benchmark country performance for policy consumption seems likewise irresistible.”
Andrea Saltelli, JRC
02/2013 JRC suggests improving the measurement system of the Internal Market
At the request of Commissioner Barnier and with the support from Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, the Joint Research Centre has organized a high-level roundtable on "Scientific support to Internal Market" on 21 February 2013 in Brussels. This initiative was structured according to three key areas with the greatest growth potential: a more integrated Single Market for services; the better protection and development of intellectual property; the digital economy. This roundtable among high-level scientists, leading consumer NGOs, business representatives, social partners and policy makers has been an opportunity to reflect on the potential role for science and identify priorities where scientific expertise and research should be targeted to help policy makers to find new ways of growth from the single market.
01/2013 Ratings and rankings: Voodoo or Science?
According to many – including some of the authors of the Stiglitz report – composite indicators have serious shortcomings. Still these measures are pervasive in the public discourse and represent perhaps the best known face of statistics in the eyes of the general public and media. A new JRC paper to appear in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society – Series A, delves into the potential fallacies of rankings and ratings built as arithmetic averages. The analysis is applied to six composite indicators, including the Human Development Index and two popular league tables of university performance.
12/2012 JRC helps measuring corruption perceptions
The Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, launched by Transparency International on 5 December, has benefitted from a thorough statistical analysis performed by the JRC. Upon request of Transparency International and due to its renowned expertise in composite indicators, the JRC has assessed for the first time the methodology used, which was revised this year to provide greater clarity on how the different data are incorporated into the ranking. According to the JRC's analysis, the new methodology is conceptually and statistically coherent and has a balanced structure. The corruption perceptions index is a composite indicator that measures perceptions of corruption in the public sector in different countries around the world. It has been widely credited since it was launched in 1995 with putting the issue of public sector corruption (i.e. administrative and political corruption) on the international policy agenda. World's most corrupt perceived countries in 2012 are Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia, on an equal foot. In the EU, the worst perceived country in terms of corruption is Greece. On the other end, two European countries (Denmark and Finland) together with New Zealand rank first for the least perceived corruption.
11/2012 JRC contributes to the measurement of the rule of law worldwide
The Rule of Law Index 2012, launched by the World Justice Project (WJP) on 28 November, has benefitted from a thorough statistical analysis performed by the JRC. Since 2009 the JRC supports the World Justice Project (WJP) on an important multi-dimensional measure of the rule of law that covers issues from government power and corruption to fundamental rights and civil justice. The 2012 WJP Rule of Law Index is the product of interviewing 97,000 members of the general public and more than 2,500 experts in 97 countries offering a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. The JRC analysis suggests that the conceptualised multi-level structure of the 2012 WJP Rule of Law Index is statistically coherent and balanced.
11/2012 Innovation performance in 190 European regions
The Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012, published on 6/11/2012, shows that there is considerable diversity in regional innovation performance not only across Europe but also within the Member States, but the most innovative regions in the EU are typically in the most innovative countries: Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Finland. The Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012, produced by Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, in collaboration with the JRC and other organisations, provides a comparative assessment of how European regions perform with regard to innovation. The report, based on the methodology of the Innovation Union Scoreboard, covers 190 regions across the European Union, Croatia, Norway and Switzerland.
10/2012 10 years of training on composite indicators and rankings
More than 500 European Commission officials and scientists from all over the world have benefitted from training in composite indicator development, measurement of latent phenomena and multicriteria decision analysis since 2003 thanks to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). Its Tenth Annual Seminar on Composite Indicators held in Ispra on 11-12 October 2012 was attended by scientists from sixteen countries (thirteen EU Member States, Egypt, Turkey and South Korea) working in universities, NGOs and international organisations. The JRC-IPSC has also audited, upon request of their developers, more than 60 composite indicators over these last ten years.
09/2012 JRC assessed the first ever Web Index
The JRC's Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) contributed to the Index through a rigorous statistical analysis which provided a twofold assessment: a validation of the expert assessment survey, used to obtain about 60% of the indicators included in the Web Index, and an analysis of robustness of country scores and ranks with respect to different settings of the Index. Results show the Web Index as a robust measure from the statistical point of view, although some improvements are suggested of the survey questionnaire for future releases.
07/2012 Global Innovation Index 2012 measures capabilities of 141 countries
The Global Innovation Index 2012 (GII) – Stronger Innovation Linkages for Global Growth’ was released on July 3, 2012 by INSEAD, one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a specialized agency of the United Nations). Upon invitation of its developers and for a second consecutive year, the GII was thoroughly assessed and revised by researchers of the Unit of Econometrics and Applied Statistics at the JRC. The 2012 GII model includes 141 countries that represent 94.9% of the world's population and 99.4% of the world's GDP. The top 10 include Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Finland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark, Hong Kong (SAR, China), Ireland, and the United States. All EU 27 countries are represented in the ranking.
02/2012 Measuring European Innovation - The Innovation Union Scoreboard
The JRC has collaborated to the second edition of the Innovation Union Scoreboard, published on 07/02/2012 by the European Commission. The Innovation Union Scoreboard provides a comparative assessment of the research and innovation performance of the EU27 Member States and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. Building on one decade of experience with the European Innovation Scoreboard, the new Innovation Union Scoreboard has been adapted to help monitoring the implementation of the Europe 2020 Innovation Union flagship.This year's scoreboard shows that almost all Member States have improved their innovation performance. However, innovation performance growth is slowing down and the EU is not closing the persistent gap with global innovation leaders US, Japan and South Korea.
01/2012 JRC contributes to the Environmental Performance Index
The JRC has contributed to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) launched at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos on 26 January 2012. The EPI is produced by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the JRC. With its expertise on composite indicators and sensitivity analysis, the JRC contributed to the EPI by assessing the methodology and making recommendations on the balancing of the indicators. According to the top 20 results of the 2012 EPI, thirteen EU Member States − Latvia, Luxembourg, France, Austria, Italy, United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Slovakia, Netherlands, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Finland − lead the world in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges. Latvia has made the most progress over 2000-2010, as measured by the new Trend EPI, and ranks second in the overall EPI.
Toulouse, France, 26-29 June 2013
10th JRC Seminar on Composite Indicators and Rankings
Ispra, Italy, 11-12 October 2012