Recent years have seen a proliferation of ‘composite indicators’ or ‘indexes’ of governance, but some are better tools than others and some are better suited to certain purposes than others. This paper provides a framework of ten questions to help users and producers of governance indexes to evaluate them and consider key components of index design. The paper argues that:
- more attention should be paid to questions about concept formation, content validity, reliability, replicability, robustness, and the relevance of particular measures to underlying research questions; and
- less attention should be paid to questions about descriptive complexity, theoretical fit, the precision of estimates, and correct weighting.
The framework builds both on a review of the literature, and on three years of research in practice, specifically the author’s experience in working with Robert I. Rotberg to design and co-author the first two editions of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG).