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Methodology of the Indices of Social Development


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Foa, Roberto Stefan  ORCID logo
Tanner, Jeffery 


In recent years, international organizations, think-tanks, and the social sciences have contributed to a dramatic expansion in the range of composite indices measuring concepts such as human development, governance, or social capital. This paper discusses challenges faced in the design of composite indices, and suggests the method known as matching percentiles as a solution to the problem of how to aggregate social institutional data. We produce a set of indices measuring the health of five dimensions of social development: civic activism, clubs and associations, inter-group cohesion, interpersonal safety and trust, and gender equity. We then conduct a series of diagnostic tests which demonstrate the robustness of the new measures, and assess their degree of construct validity.



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International Institute of Social Studies

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World Bank for International Development