Title: Measuring uncertainties in composite indicators of sustainability

Authors: Giuseppe Munda, Michela Nardo, Michaela Saisana, Tanja Srebotnjak

Addresses: European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), Econometrics and Applied Statistics Unit (G-09), TP 361, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy. ' European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), Econometrics and Applied Statistics Unit (G-09), TP 361, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy. ' European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), Econometrics and Applied Statistics Unit (G-09), TP 361, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy. ' Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, PO Box 353055, Seattle, WA 98195 3055, USA; Center for Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University, 205 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

Abstract: Composite indicators are very common in economic and business statistics for benchmarking the relative progress of countries in a variety of policy domains such as industrial competitiveness, sustainable development, globalisation and innovation. This article provides an analysis of the key uncertainties underlying the mathematical modelling used to construct composite indicators within the broader context of sustainability measurement. A case study of the Environmental Sustainability Index illustrates how these uncertainties can be modelled and estimated.

Keywords: Environmental Sustainability Index; ESI; measurement theory; multi-criteria evaluation; sensitivity analysis; social choice; sustainable development; uncertainty management; composite indicators; mathematical modelling.

DOI: 10.1504/IJETM.2009.027185

International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, 2009 Vol.11 No.1/2/3, pp.7 - 26

Published online: 17 Jul 2009 *

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