Handbook for measuring progress

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The “Map on policy use of progress indicators” – Handbook for measuring progress aims at fostering the use of well-being and sustainable development indicators by policy makers and their advisors. To this purpose, it provides a selection of the results in literature showing how progress indicators can be used in policy making and whether they have been actually been used.

The document has the ambition to contribute to the current debate and to further promote policy use of progress indicators by reporting most recent advancements in measuring well-being and sustainable development, presenting successful experiences of policy use of indicators, discussing existing gaps,proposing improvements and suggesting recommendations for use.

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Map on policy use of progress indicators


This report is an output of the e-Frame (European Framework for Measuring Progress) project.

e-Frame is a major international project which aims to provide a European framework for the debate over the measure of well-being and progress. The project involves a broad range of activities including conferences and workshops, as well as research and the development of guidelines. It is led by two major European National Statistical Institutes (NSIs), ISTAT (in Italy) and the CBS (in the Netherlands), and includes amongst the partners two other NSIs (the French INSEE and the UK ONS), the OECD, and several universities and civil society organisations. It is funded by the EU FP7 Work Programme.

From a content viewpoint, the Map is moving along the border between methodological issues and policy use. Yet, this frontier has not been reached uniformly for all topics covered by the Map. As the different chapters show, from e-Frame work it emerged that: i) for some subject areas the relevant measures are not fully developed yet and some research is still needed to produce the required indicators; ii) for many other subject areas measures are currently produced by official statistics but they are often ignored by policy making and iii) finally, there exist good practices of policy making which already moved “beyond GDP” that are reported as well.

The Map opens with an overview on the state of the art in “Policy use of progress indicators” and it collects contributions from all e-Frame Work Packages (summarising discussions in workshops and conferences, and results from stocktaking reports). The contributions are grouped into three main sections:

  • Measuring well-being and societal progress;
  • Methodologies and tools for measuring well-being and societal progress;
  • Integrated policy frameworks.

The first section “Measuring well-being and societal progress” collects the descriptions of the current state of the art of progress indicators in a number of specific topics according to the themes dealt with by e-Frame.

The second section “Methodologies and tools for measuring well-being and societal progress” deals with some relevant cross-cutting topics following the activities foreseen by e-Frame.

The third section “Whispering well-being in the ears of the prince:towards an integrated policy framework for better lives” describes overall frameworks supporting a well-being centred policy making.



Tommaso Rondinella, Marina Signore, Donatella Fazio, Maria Grazia Calza and Alessandra Righi, Istat.

  • The “Map on policy use of progress indicators” covers the topics dealt with by the e-Frame project and it is written in co-operation with project partners under Istat’s editorial coordination. It also benefits from the contributions from JRC (European Commission-Joint Research Centre) and from the results achieved by other EU funded research projects, in particular from BRAINPOol and POINT.

See the complete list of authors at page 2 of the document.

See Also

Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs)
POINT Project
European Network on Measuring Progress
European Framework for Measuring Progress