Action number 11301 Last updated 14/02/2011 17:13:55 Year 2011
Title Statistical Indicators for Policy Making
Acronym SIPA
Type Action
Url sipa.jrc.ec.europa.eu
Institute JRC.G Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (Ispra)
Leader NARDO Michela JRC.G.3   E-Mail
1 Prosperity in a Knowledge intensive society
1.1 Competitiveness and innovation
1.1.3 Indicators and intelligence for a knowledge society
Customer DGs EAC - Education and Culture
EMPL - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
ENTR - Enterprise and Industry
ENV - Environment
ESTAT - Eurostat
REGIO - Regional Policy
RTD - Research
SANCO - Health and Consumers
Statistical Indicators, Composite Indicators, Economics, Econometrics, Lifelong learning, Applied Statistics, Uncertainty and Sensitivity analysis.
Over the last two years, we have faced the world's worst economic crisis since the 1930s leading to high levels of unemployment, sluggish structural growth and excessive levels of debt. At the same time, the world is moving fast and long-term challenges – globalisation, pressure on resources, climate change, ageing – are intensifying.
The Europe 2020 strategy (and before it the Lisbon strategy) put forward by the Commission sets out a vision of Europe's social market economy for the 21st century. It suggests some key areas for action in order to keep the pace of market and social challenges. Particular emphasis is given to knowledge and innovation and its relation with growth and to a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion : four out of five measurable EU targets for 2020 are in these areas. All these issues constitute the object of the research and support activity of the action Statistical Indicators for Policy Assessment (SIPA). Our objective is being a trait d’union between the academia and the policy makers providing sound and theoretically grounded policy support.
Summary of the activity
SIPA offers econometric and statistical support for the implementation and monitoring of the EU policies. The Action has four lines of activity under the Thematic Area 1 (Contribution to Lisbon Agenda) but its competence is largely horizontal:

(1) Statistical indicators. Policy processes without tangible goalposts are meaningless. Policy targets need to be measurable and those measures need to be objective and comparable. SIPA has a considerable experience and international reputation in developing and testing (composite) indicators for policy analysis. Recently SIPA worked on flexicurity, regional and global competitiveness, regional innovation, governance, rule of law, lifelong learning, social cohesion and equity. SIPA also undertakes independent auditing of international indexes.
(2) Applied statistics and econometrics. SIPA applies statistical methods to the analysis of economic phenomena with the objective of identifying and quantifying empirical regularities and causal effects in economic/behavioural relationships. SIPA applies econometric techniques to a variety of domains: returns to investment and innovation, determinants of growth and welfare, competitiveness, labour market outcomes, social cohesion, inequality.
(3) Sensitivity analysis. Simulation models are used in science and policy to understand natural or social systems. Such tools are affected by uncertainties, both in their inputs and their structure and such uncertainties may affect the inferences drawn from the models. Sensitivity analysis finds the major drivers of the uncertainty in model predictions and enables the policy-maker to derive more accurate and robust inferences. While the scientific literature shows plenty of local approaches to sensitivity analysis, SIPA focuses on global sensitivity analysis, in which uncertainties are explored over a wider multi-dimensional space. SIPA develops new techniques and applies sensitivity analysis to real world models in different fields (from economics to environment).
(4) Lifelong Learning. SIPA is particularly active in the evaluation and monitoring of education and training systems with its Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning (CRELL).
Established by Council Conclusions in 2005 . Since then CRELL has supported the Commission in the creation and evaluation of indicators, in monitoring the performance of MS, in offering regular input to the Annual Progress Reports and developing secondary analysis on topics related to the Commission’s priorities in education and training. The action is supporting Bertelsmann Stiftung (Germany) on the development of the European Lifelong Learning Index (ELLI).
Research in Sensitivity Analysis, Composite Indicators, Applied Econometrics: Perform research work in the field of sensitivity analysis by developing new algorithms for better and fast estimation of sensitivity indices and by applying sensitivity analysis to new areas and new modelling problems. Develop original research related to new statistical methodologies to test and verify the robustness of composite indicators. Use state of the art econometric techniques to identify empirical regularities and casual effects in economic models.
Deliverable  1.1
Submission of at least 2 papers to peer reviewed journals.
CAT7 - Scientific publications
Deliverable  1.2
Publications of 2 Technical Reports with (i) improved methodologies related to the validation of composite indicators; and with (ii) econometrics analysis of case studies.
CAT7 - Scientific publications
Support to institutional customers: Supply methodological, statistical and numerical support to other DGs for the creation, estimation and assessment of indicators and benchmarks. Besides support, this activity also entails the application of original methodology on composite indicators to new areas of research and research work on emerging challenges in the monitoring of education and training systems. These include employability, mobility, efficiency of education systems, youth civic skills. The activity is especially addressed to DG EAC via CRELL (co financed by DG EAC A4), DG SANCO, DG ENTR.
Deliverable  2.1
Technical report on the comparison across 75 countries and over time of inequality in accessing tertiary education (together with the World Bank).
CAT7 - Scientific publications
Deliverable  2.2
DG SANCO (B1) Report(s) containing the details of the construction of a set of composite indicators for measuring the consumer empowerment (activity started at the end of 2010).
CAT2 - Policy support documents
Deliverable  2.3
DG SANCO (B1) Report containing the statistical/econometric analysis of the main determinants of empowerment of consumer using survey micro-data. (activity started at the end of 2010)
CAT2 - Policy support documents
Deliverable  2.4
DG ENTR (D1) Report with the new results of the Regional Innovation Scoreboard (continuation of 2010 activity).
CAT2 - Policy support documents
Deliverable  2.5
DG ENTR (D1) Report with the new results of the Summary Innovation Index (yearly publication done by the action since 2005)
CAT2 - Policy support documents
Deliverable  2.6
DG EAC (A4) CRELL - Technical study on the on the potential (time trajectories) of EU Member States to reach the EU2020 benchmarks on education and learning.
CAT2 - Policy support documents
Deliverable  2.6
DG EAC (A4) Commission Staff Working Paper "Progress towards the Lisbon Objectives in Education and Training, Indicators and benchmarks" (yearly publication done in co-authorship with DG EAC since 2006). Besides drafting, CRELL will supply both analytical and statistical expertise for a selected number of chapters to be identified together with DG EAC.
CAT2 - Policy support documents
Dissemination of research: Disseminate the research activity of the action to the international audience to maintain and enhance scientific credibility.
Deliverable  3.1
One training course Composite Indicators (foreseen May 2011 and September 2011).
CAT8 - Training courses
Deliverable  3.2
Organization of a conference on Education for Employability (provisional title: "Catch the train: skills, education and jobs" Brussels, June 20-21, 2011)
CAT5 - Other policy support products and services
CRELL/DG-EAC. SIPA will support DG EAC in the monitoring of education and training systems through indicators and benchmarks. CRELL's activities are very wide and include research analysis (mainly secondary analysis) in following areas: (i) the link between lifelong learning and key competences; (ii) Quality and efficiency of education; (iii) Equity, Social cohesion and Active Citizenship.
FLEXICURITY/DG-EMPL. In 2010 SIPA developed a set of composite indicators measuring flexicurity in the EU countries. Flexicurity is the conjugation of a flexible labor market, where workers are tied not by norms or collective agreements to their job, with a high degree of social security (including training) to overcome the negative effects of a flexible job market. The contract in 2011-12 will continue the activity on flexicurity, extending and improving the set of indicators developed.
REGIONAL COMPETITIVNESS INDEX/DG REGIO. In 2010 SIPA developed a composite indicator of competitiveness at the NUTS 2 regional level. This constituted the first attempt at the EU-27 level to characterize the economic development of regions. In 2011-12 the agreement (continuation of the previous) has the purpose of maintaining and updating the database and the methodology and of extending and improving the index developed in 2010 by supplementing it with economic and spatial analysis.
Work for DG RTD C/3 on headline output innovation indicators and other composite indicators for the R&I plan for EU 2020. The agreement is currently under negotiation.
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