A multi-method approach for the assessment of composite indices and rankings

Gladys E Simpson, Florida International University


There is growing popularity in the use of composite indices and rankings for cross-organizational benchmarking. However, little attention has been paid to alternative methods and procedures for the computation of these indices and how the use of such methods may impact the resulting indices and rankings. This dissertation developed an approach for assessing composite indices and rankings based on the integration of a number of methods for aggregation, data transformation and attribute weighting involved in their computation. The integrated model developed is based on the simulation of composite indices using methods and procedures proposed in the area of multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) and knowledge discovery in databases (KDD). The approach developed in this dissertation was automated through an IT artifact that was designed, developed and evaluated based on the framework and guidelines of the design science paradigm of information systems research. This artifact dynamically generates multiple versions of indices and rankings by considering different methodological scenarios according to user specified parameters. The computerized implementation was done in Visual Basic for Excel 2007. Using different performance measures, the artifact produces a number of excel outputs for the comparison and assessment of the indices and rankings. In order to evaluate the efficacy of the artifact and its underlying approach, a full empirical analysis was conducted using the World Bank's Doing Business database for the year 2010, which includes ten sub-indices (each corresponding to different areas of the business environment and regulation) for 183 countries. The output results, which were obtained using 115 methodological scenarios for the assessment of this index and its ten sub-indices, indicated that the variability of the component indicators considered in each case influenced the sensitivity of the rankings to the methodological choices. Overall, the results of our multi-method assessment were consistent with the World Bank rankings except in cases where the indices involved cost indicators measured in per capita income which yielded more sensitive results. Low income level countries exhibited more sensitivity in their rankings and less agreement between the benchmark rankings and our multi-method based rankings than higher income country groups.

Subject Area

Statistics|Information science|Artificial intelligence

Recommended Citation

Simpson, Gladys E, "A multi-method approach for the assessment of composite indices and rankings" (2011). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3483250.