EC launches competence centre for composite indicators
On 3 February 2016, the European Commission launched a competence centre to bring together the policy and scientific expertise available in-house to ensure the highest quality of composite indicators to inform and monitor policies.
Composite indicators compress many different variables into a single figure, to be able to measure complex issues such as e.g. the rule of law, the cost of climate change, freedom of press, or economic growth potential. These indicators are built by simplifying a policy concept into a summary figure by means of a conceptual framework and statistical analysis. Behind them, there are teams of economists, sociologists, lawyers and many others. Composite indicators are easy to interpret, to communicate and attractive for the public.
Commission services, including the JRC, have developed more than 100 composite indicators, such as the Europe 2020 Index or the Digital Economy and Society Index and a similar number of scoreboards, for example the European Innovation Union Scoreboard or the Consumer Conditions Scoreboard. They are used for designing and monitoring policies, and their number is steadily increasing, as simplified but still objective and transparent monitoring tools are needed for ever more complex policy issues.
According to the EC, the new competence centre should help to ensure that all composite indicators are developed sensibly and used responsibly. In the course of 2016, the competence centre will offer an open access platform to composite indicators and scoreboards developed or used by the Commission. It will also publish an easy-to-use tool, developed by the JRC, for the assessment of some of the statistical properties and robustness of composite indicators, as well as guidelines on constructing composite indicators. The centre will be coordinated by the JRC (Joint Research Centre) and builds on the JRC’s expertise in this field.
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