Bertelsmann Sustainable Governance Indicators 2009

Funded by: Bertelsmann Foundation

Project Status/ Period: 2005–2009

Short Description:
The main goals of the project were to identify the need for political and economic reform in 30 OECD countries and to assess to what extent governments are capable of reform. For this purpose the “Sustainable Governance Indicators” were conceptualized and incorporate two aspects: the need for reform and reform capability.

In order to capture the need for reform a “Status Index” was developed. It maps both democratic quality and a state’s proficiency level. For democratic quality categories such as electoral processes, participation rights, freedom rights and the rule of law were analyzed by means of multiple individual questions. The proficiency level was determined by taking socio-economic parameters, the economic and social conditions, security and integration policies as well as sustainability endeavors into account. On the basis of these categories the “Status Index” establishes a ranking of the 30 OECD states with regard to their need for reform.

Additionally, the „Management Index“ determines governments’ reform capability. For this both the executive capacity and the executive accountability are analyzed for each country. In order to identify executive capacity, governments are evaluated with regard to their steering capability, their resource efficiency, their international cooperation and their institutional learning. Furthermore the index registers societal participation of citizens, parliaments, parties, NGOs as well as the media in governmental decision-making.

Research Area/ Methods:
The Status and Management Indices consist of 149 indicators which encompass both quantitative and qualitative aspects.

The qualitative aspects were identified by consulting 100 experts which provided a detailed description as well as an expert judgment on a scale from 1 to 10. Each OECD country was analyzed by three experts. Ultimately the indicators were weighted and combined into the Status and Management Indices. The data can be accessed free of charge at http://www.sgi-network.org

Participation:
Prof. Dr. Jahn acted as Country Expert for Sweden and Iceland, as Regional Coordinator for the Scandinavian countries and as Member of the Scientific Advisory Council, the SGI-Board.
Kati Kuitto and Christoph Oberst served as Country Experts for Finland.

Publications and Working Papers:
Jahn, Detlef (2009): Dimensions of Government Decision-Making Structures in OECD Countries. Paper presented at the Joint Sessions 2009 in Lisbon, Workshop “PARTY GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN THE NEW EUROPE”.

Jahn, Detlef (2008) Global Inequality in Advanced Industrialized Societies. Paper presented at the APSA Annual Meeting in Boston, MA, August 28-31.

Jahn, Detlef (2009): Country Report “Iceland”, in: Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.). Sustainable Governance Indicators 2009. Policy Performance and Executive Capacity in the OECD. Bertelsmann, Gütersloh.

Jahn, Detlef (2009): Country Report “Sweden”, in: Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.). Sustainable Governance Indicators 2009. Policy Performance and Executive Capacity in the OECD. Bertelsmann, Gütersloh.

Kuitto, Kati/ Oberst, Christoph (2009): Country Report “Finland”, in: Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.). Sustainable Governance Indicators 2009. Policy Performance and Executive Capacity in the OECD. Bertelsmann, Gütersloh.