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POINT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 217207
Funded under: FP7-SSH

How effective are policy indicators?

More and more, policymakers are using indicators to measure the success of public policy, but the role of these indicators in policymaking remains under-researched. In fact, researchers and practitioners have mainly focused on the technical details of indicator design.
How effective are policy indicators?
The EU-funded 'Policy influence of indicators' (POINT) project sought to fill in knowledge gaps regarding the role of indicators in policymaking. The overall aim was to find better ways of using indicators in all aspects of policy, with a thematic focus on sustainable development.

POINT sought to design a coherent framework of analysis and to generate hypotheses on the use and influence of indicators. These hypotheses would be tested on specific cases of sector integration and sustainability indicators.

Twelve separate studies on the use and influence of indicators were done, including on sectorial indicators for the agri-environment sector in Denmark and Slovakia, transport policy in Sweden, and energy policy in the United Kingdom. These case studies used a variety of methods to collect data, such as documentary analysis, interviews, questionnaires and group discussions.

A wide range of patterns of use and influence were revealed. For example, researchers noted that indicators play different roles in different policy contexts, and interactions between factors may amplify or attenuate the indicator use and/or influence. They also found that indicators may play a role in promoting dialogue and conceptualisation of complex issues.

These findings have been translated into several key recommendations for addressing policy processes, engagement and practical effectiveness. In addition, POINT partners have suggested future research topics that could supplement, broaden and deepen the insights produced here.

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