Sustainable Governance Indicators
The SGIs, analyse and compare the need for economic, political and social reform in OECD member countries. The SGIs incorporate both qualitative and quantitative data on government related activities and examine the extent to which OECD member country governments are dealing with key issues. The SGIs were first released in spring 2009.
Watch the short introduction video clip about the scope of SGI.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011 were launched on March 31, 2011. This document is the second major publication of the SGIs and builds on the first publication which released in 2009 was hugely successful. Based on 65 qualitative and 82 quantitative indicators, the SGIs analyse and compare the need for reform in 31 OECD member countries as well as the capacity of these countries to respond to current social and political challenges. The period of time analysed is May 2008 to April 2010. This period corresponds with the global financial crisis and analysis allows for insight into countries' performance during the economic constraint.
The SGI’s in-depth country reports and the international rankings awarded to countries are supported by the collective expertise of more than 80 renowned international scientists.
The SGIs assess sustainable governance along two pillars: a Status Index and a Management Index.
I. The Status Index answers the following questions:
- How high is the quality of each country’s democratic system?
- How successful are OECD countries in achieving sustainable policy outcomes in 15 single policy areas?
II. The driving question behind the Management Index is:
- How effective is strategic steering capability within the context of the interactions between government and social actors?
In answering this question, the SGI’s Management Index looks to a wide and innovative set of indicators. These indicators enable a nuanced assessment of the extent to which OECD governments – in cooperation with other institutions and social groups in the context of democratic decision-making processes – are able to identify future problems and subsequently develop and implement finely tuned political solutions in an effective and efficient manner.
The release of the SGI 2011 document was accompanied by a comprehensive overhaul of the project’s website. The SGI 2011 survey data - including detailed rankings and sub-rankings for each policy area - and the country reports are accessible online and free of charge. Using the SGI 2011 data, further studies on specific subjects such as the state of social justice in advanced societies were released.
Social Justice in the OECD 2011
The report released by SGI in October 2011 offers a comparative assessment of 31 OECD countries with regard to six key dimensions: poverty prevention, equitable access to education, labour market inclusiveness, social cohesion and non-discrimination, health and intergenerational justice. The full report, "Social Justice in the OECD – How Do the Member States Compare?" can be viewed here.
Status Index 2011
The countries ranked most highly by the Status Index are primarily located in northern Europe. New Zealand, with its Anglo-saxon heritage, and Switzerland, two nations with different political and state welfare traditions also received high scores.
The countries that scored within the mid-range were (Canada, Australia, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, USA, Ireland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Japan, Chile, Spain, and Poland). Countries in the lowest-ranking group include (South Korea, Italy, Slovakia, Mexico, Greece, and Turkey). The countries in both the mid and low ranking groups are geographically and culturally heterogeneous. Standard typologies in comparative political science are insufficient to explain the ranking of the OECD nations by the Status Index. For example, majoritarian democracies do not systematically score better or worse than consensus democracies. Classifying the countries as federalist and centralist states also fails to explain the differences in reform capacity. In fact the group of top ranking countries includes predominantly social democratic welfare states such as the Scandinavian countries. Nonetheless some liberal welfare states such as New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada, also achieved high scores and were ranked in the upper mid-range. In general, the findings of the Status Index reveal higher scores among long-term, established OECD members – although there are exceptions: Chile, a new member, ranks in the lower midrange, while Italy and Greece are placed significantly lower than some Eastern European countries.
See Status Index.
Management Index 2011
At the highest level of aggregation in the Management Index, the overview reveals which countries perform the best in terms of overall governance and which countries have poorer results. More comprehensive and detailed information on the performance of individual countries can be found in the country reports on the SGI website.
Sweden and Norway have the highest scores on the SGI Management Indicator each with average scores exceeding 8 points. They are followed by Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and Australia. Although as with the Status Index, northern European countries score well, no particular system type is favoured within the Management Index. This top group is followed by a broad mid-range within which the changes in index scores are incremental, leaving no discernible clusters. Clearly bringing up the rear of the survey are Greece and Slovakia. Both countries scored less favourably than Italy, ranked number 29, by nearly one whole point. Chile, a new member of the OECD, scored higher than some longstanding OECD states.
See Management Index.
Country reports 2011