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Composite indicators

The JRC’s expertise in the area of composite indicators enable it to supply evidence-based assessment of EU policies and monitor their progress.

Indices aggregate multi-dimensional processes into simplified concepts. The JRC has developed methodologies to construct robust composite indicators that can provide policy-makers with the ‘big picture’ on matters that are crucial for the EU, helping to shape policy and monitor progress. Such areas include lifelong learning, innovation, environmental pressure, education, and competitiveness.

The JRC is renowned for its expertise on statistical methodologies and technical guidelines on the development of sound composite indicators, which can be used in making informed policy decisions. The JRC work is published in peer reviewed journals and is used by the Commission, international partners and the scientific community to improve the quality of their outputs.

The JRC, together with the OECD, has published a “Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators: Methodology and User Guide” which has become the reference report for practitioners constructing composite indicators in a variety of fields. The JRC has a rich portfolio of over 60 statistical audits of composite indicators – examples include: the Environmental Performance Index (Yale University, Columbia University), the Global Innovation Index (INSEAD & World Intellectual Property Organisation), the Multidimensional Poverty Assignment Tool (UN International Fund for Agricultural Development), the Global Competitiveness Index (World Economic Forum), and the Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International).

On 3 February 2016, the European Commission’s Competence Centre on composite indicators and scoreboards (COIN) was launched. COIN brings together scientific and analytical expertise that can be applied across policy areas. The competence centre examines available methodology within its remit, and provides Commission services with quality-controlled tools that support the conception, implementation and evaluation of EU policy. COIN includes the provision of support and assistance to policy DGs, as well as technical training. Best practices are to be shared across services via communities of practice. Furthermore, COIN will strengthen and extend its strong networks with academia, external research organisations, and practitioners in other policy-making institutions, to remain mainstream in its expertise and to provide the Commission with state-of-the-art scientific methodology.

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Competence Centre on composite indicators and scoreboards (COIN)