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How Do Performance Indicators Add Up? An Examination of Composite Indicators in Public Services


  • Rowena Jacobs
  • Maria Goddard


Composite indicators are an aggregation of underlying performance indicators into a single index and have been used widely in the public sector to create league tables. This article investigates the degree to which composite measures are an appropriate metric for measuring performance. The authors illustrate the degree of uncertainty in the construction of composites and how rankings are sensitive to the way in which the performance indicators are aggregated. The article highlights the issues which need to be considered in the development and use of composite indicators for performance management purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • Rowena Jacobs & Maria Goddard, 2007. "How Do Performance Indicators Add Up? An Examination of Composite Indicators in Public Services," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(2), pages 103-110, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pubmmg:v:27:y:2007:i:2:p:103-110
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9302.2007.00565.x

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    Cited by:

    1. Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2012. "The Use of Performance Measures in Health Care Systems," Chapters, in: Andrew M. Jones (ed.),The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 33, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Aki J��skel�inen & Harri Laihonen, 2014. "A strategy framework for performance measurement in the public sector," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(5), pages 355-362, September.
    3. Rebekah Schulz & Andrew Sense & Matthew Pepper, 0. "Combining Participative Action Research with an Adapted House of Quality Framework for the Stakeholder Development of Performance Indicators in Local Government," Systemic Practice and Action Research, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-24.
    4. Masci, Chiara & De Witte, Kristof & Agasisti, Tommaso, 2018. "The influence of school size, principal characteristics and school management practices on educational performance: An efficiency analysis of Italian students attending middle schools," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 52-69.
    5. José Luis Zafra-Gómez & Antonio Manuel López-Hernández & Agustin Hernández-Bastida, 2009. "Developing an alert system for local governments in financial crisis," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 175-181, May.
    6. Juliette Malley & José‐Luis Fernández, 2010. "Measuring Quality In Social Care Services: Theory And Practice," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(4), pages 559-582, December.
    7. Gwyn Bevan & Richard Hamblin, 2009. "Hitting and missing targets by ambulance services for emergency calls: effects of different systems of performance measurement within the UK," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(1), pages 161-190, January.

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