Chapter 22: Build your own regional integration indicator system
Open access

The purpose of this chapter is to guide researchers and policy-makers when considering assessing and monitoring regional integration processes utilising a set of indicators, in the form of dashboards or composite indices. It deals with the various aspects of building regional integration indicator systems: the purpose of building such systems, ontological aspects, types of indicator systems, analytical limitations, sustainability, identification of dimensions, logical structure, indicator selection, range and reference values, denomination and comparability, data availability, normalisation, weighting and aggregation, robustness checks, and user interaction. The pros and cons of methodological alternatives are indicated. Real-world indicator systems that have been developed in various regions worldwide are used to illustrate certain aspects and to point to best practices.

  • Abel, G. and Cohen, J.E. (2019) ‘Bilateral International Migration Flows for 200 Countries’, Scientific Data, 6(82), 1–13.

  • ADB (2021) Asia-Pacific Regional Cooperation and Integration Index: Enhanced Framework, Analysis, and Applications, Manila: Asian Development Bank.

  • Adiwasito, E., De Lombaerde, P. and Pietrangeli, G. (2005) ‘On the Joint Assessment of Andean Integration in EU-CAN Relations’, Studia Diplomatica, 58(3), 115–143.

  • African Union (2020) AMRII – African Multidimensional Regional Integration Index, Addis Ababa: African Union.

  • Amaya, A.B. et al. (2015) Measuring Regional Policy Change and Pro-Poor Health Policy Success. A PRARI Toolkit of Indicators for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), PRARI, Milton Keynes: Open University.

  • Anselin, L. and Rey, S. (1991) ‘Properties of Tests for Spatial Dependence in Linear Regression Models’, Geographical Analysis, 23(2), 112–131.

  • ASEAN (2010) ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard, Jakarta: ASEAN.

  • ASEAN (2012) ASEAN Community Progress Monitoring System Report, Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat.

  • ASEAN (2017) ASEAN Community Progress Monitoring System, Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat.

  • ASEAN (2019) ASEAN Integration Report, Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat.

  • AU/AfDB/UNECA (2016a) Africa Regional Integration Index Report 2016, Addis Ababa: African Union – African Development Bank – UNECA.

  • AU/AfDB/UNECA (2016b) Methodology for Calculating the Africa Regional Integration Index (ARII), Addis Ababa: African Union – African Development Bank – UNECA.

  • AU/AfDB/UNECA (2019a) Africa Regional Integration Index, Addis Ababa: African Union – African Development Bank – UNECA.

  • AU/AfDB/UNECA (2019b) Africa Regional Integration Index. Technical Report, Addis Ababa: African Union – African Development Bank – UNECA.

  • AU/AfDB/UNECA (2019c) Africa Regional Integration Index. Methodological Note, Addis Ababa: African Union – African Development Bank – UNECA.

  • Balassa, B. (1961) The Theory of Economic Integration, Homewood: Richard Irwin.

  • Balter, E. et al. (2014) The System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration II, Saint Petersburg: EDB.

  • Barrera, M. and Haas, E.B. (1969) ‘The Operationalization of Some Variables Related to Regional Integration: A Research Note’, International Organization, 23(1), 150–160.

  • Becker, W., Dominguez-Torreiro, M., Neves, A.R., Tacao Moura, C.J. and Saisana, M. (2019a) Exploring ASEM Sustainable Connectivity – What Brings Asia and Europe Together?, Luxembourg: European Union.

  • Becker, W., Dominguez-Torreiro, M., Neves, A.R., Tacao Moura, C.J. and Saisana, M. (2019b) Exploring ASEM Sustainable Connectivity – What brings Asia and Europe Together? Methodological Annex, Luxembourg: European Union.

  • Becker, W., Saisana, M., Paruolo, P. and Vandecasteele, I. (2017) ‘Weights and Importance in Composite Indicators: Closing the Gap’, Ecological Indicators, 80, 12–22.

  • Börzel, T. (2016) ‘Theorizing Regionalism: Cooperation, Integration, and Governance’, In: Börzel, T. and Risse, T. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Regionalism, Oxford: OUP, pp. 41–63.

  • Caporaso, J.M. (1971) ‘Theory and Method in the Study of International Integration’, International Organization, 25(2), 228–253.

  • De Lombaerde, P. (2009) ‘Indicator-based Monitoring of the Eurasian Integration Process: Preliminary Remarks’, In: EDB, Yearbook of Eurasian Economic Integration, EDB, Almaty, pp. 283–289.

  • De Lombaerde, P. (2019) Measuring, Monitoring and Improving Performance in Regional Integration within UNECA, ESCWA and ESCAP Regions – Technical Report, Beirut: UNESCWA [unpublished].

  • De Lombaerde, P., Estevadeordal, A. and Suominen, K. (eds.) (2008) Governing Regional Integration for Development: Monitoring Experiences, Methods and Prospects, London: Ashgate.

  • De Lombaerde, P., Guinea, O., Pietrangeli, G. and Weeratunge, C. (2010) ‘Systems of Indicators for Monitoring Regional Integration Processes: Where Do We Stand Anno 2010?’ Köz-Gazdaság. Economic Theory and Policy, 3, 145–171.

  • De Lombaerde, P., Saucedo Acosta, E.J. and Melissa Vida, A. (2017) ‘Introduction: Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Saucedo, E. (eds.) Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration, UNU Series on Regionalism (13), Cham: Springer Nature, pp. xv–xxxiv.

  • De Lombaerde, P. and Söderbaum, F. (2013) ‘Reading the Intellectual History of Regionalism’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Söderbaum, F. (eds.) Regionalism. Volume I, London: Sage, pp. xvii–xlviii.

  • De Lombaerde, P., Söderbaum, F., Van Langenhove, L. and Baert, F. (2010) ‘The Problem of Comparison in Comparative Regionalism’, Review of International Studies, 36(3), 731–753.

  • Dennis, D.J. and Yusof, A.Z. (2003) Developing Indicators of ASEAN Integration – A Preliminary Survey for a Road Map. Final Report, AADCP Regional Economic Policy Support Facility, Kuala Lumpur: Econsult Sdn Bhd.

  • Deutsch, K.W. (1954) Political Community at the International Level: Problems of Definition and Measurement, New York: Doubleday.

  • Deutsch, K.W. (1964) ‘Communication Theory and Political Integration’, In: Jacob, P.E. and Toscano, J.V. (eds), The Integration of Political Communities, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, pp. 46–74.

  • Deutsch, K.W. et al. (1957) Political Community and the North Atlantic Area: International Organization in the Light of Historical Experience, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Deutsch, K.W., Edinger, L.J., Macridis, R.C. and Merritt, R.L. (1967) France, Germany and the Western Alliance: A Study of Elite Attitudes on European Integration and World Politics, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

  • Doran, G.T. (1981) ‘There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives’, Management Review, 70(11), 35–36.

  • Dorrucci, E., Firpo, S., Fratzscher, M. and Mongelli, F.P. (2002) ‘European Integration: What Lessons for Other Regions ? The Case of Latin America’, ECB Working Paper, 185.

  • EDB (2012) EDB System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration, Saint Petersburg: EDB [http://www.eabr.org/e/research/centreCIS/projectsandreportsCIS].

  • EDB (2017) Eurasian Economic Integration – 2017, Saint Petersburg: EDB.

  • EDB (2019) Eurasian Economic Integration – 2019, Moscow: EDB.

  • ESCAP (n.d.) Digital and Sustainable Regional Integration Index (DigiSRII) 2.0 Technical Note, Bangkok: ESCAP, last accessed on 1/04/2023 at https://riva.negotiatetrade.org/riva2_technical_note/

  • ESCWA (2015) Assessing Arab Economic Integration. Towards the Arab Customs Union, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Beirut: United Nations, (E/ESCWA/EDID/2015/4).

  • European Commission (1997) Single Market Scoreboard, Brussels: European Commission.

  • European Commission (2001) Internal Market Scoreboard (8), Brussels: European Commission.

  • Fernández Moriana, V., Vida, A.M. and De Lombaerde, P. (2017) ‘The European Commission Single Market Scoreboard’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Saucedo, E. (eds.) Indicator-based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration, Cham: Springer, pp. 3–26.

  • Gonzales, F. (2018) ‘The OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI)’, Expert Group Meeting on Methodologies of Regional Integration Indices, Addis Ababa, 25–26 September.

  • Green, P.E. and Srinivasan, V. (1978) ‘Conjoint Analysis in Consumer Research: Issues and Outlook’, Journal of Consumer Research, 5, 103–123.

  • Huh, H.-S. and Park, C.-Y. (2017) ‘Asia-Pacific Regional Integration Index: Construction, Interpretation, and Comparison’, ADB Economics Working Paper Series, (511).

  • Huh, H.-S. and Park, C.-Y. (2018) ‘Asia-Pacific Regional Integration Index: Construction, Interpretation, and Comparison’, Journal of Asian Economics, 54, 22–38.

  • Iapadre, L., De Lombaerde, P. and Mastronardi, G. (2013) ‘Measuring Trade Regionalisation in Africa: The Case of ECOWAS’, WAI-ZEI Papers, 6, 57–86.

  • Iapadre, P.L. and Plummer, M. (2011) ‘Statistical Measures of Regional Trade Integration’, In: De Lombaerde, P., Flôres Jr., R.G., Iapadre, P.L. and Schulz, M. (eds.) The Regional Integration Manual: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, pp. 98–123.

  • Jacob, P.E. and Teune, H. (1964) ‘The Integrative Process: Guidelines for Analysis of the Bases of Political Community’, In: Jacob, P.E. and Toscano, J.V. (eds.) The Integration of Political Communities, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., pp. 1–45.

  • Jacobs, R., Smith, P. and M. Goddard (2004) ‘Measuring Performance: An Examination of Composite Performance Indicators’, Centre for Health Economics Technical Paper Series, 29.

  • Jolliffe, I.T. (2002) Principal Component Analysis, New York: Springer.

  • König, J. (2017) ‘The EU Index of Integration Effort’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Saucedo, E. (eds.) Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration. Fourth World Report on Regional Integration. Cham: Springer, pp. 73–94.

  • König, J. and Ohr, R. (2013) ‘Different Efforts in European Economic Integration: Implications of the EU Index’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 51(6), 1074–1090.

  • Melyn, W. and Moesen, W.W. (1991) ‘Towards a Synthetic Indicator of Macroeconomic Performance: Unequal Weighting When Limited Information is Available’, CES Public Economic Research Paper, 17.

  • Munda, G. (2004) ‘Social Multi-Criteria Evaluation: Methodological Foundations and Operational Consequences’, European Journal of Operational Research, 158, 662–677.

  • Nardo, M., Saisana, M., Saltelli, A. and Tarantola, S. (2005) Tools for Composite Indicators Building, Ispra: Joint Research Centre, European Commission.

  • Nye, J.S. (1968) ‘Comparative Regional Integration: Concept and Measurement’, International Organization, 22(4), 855–880.

  • OECD (2008) Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators: Methodology and User Guide, Paris: OECD and JRC.

  • Ombudo K’Ombudo, A., De Lombaerde, P. and Borda, M. (2017) ‘The East African Community Common Market Scorecard’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Saucedo, E. (eds.) Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration, Cham: Springer Nature, pp. 239–259.

  • Park, C.-Y. and Claveria, R. (2018) ‘Constructing the Asia-Pacific Regional Cooperation and Integration Index: A Panel Approach’, ADB Economics Working Paper Series, 544.

  • Pinder, J. (1968) ‘Positive Integration and Negative Integration: Some Problems of Economic Union in the EEC’, The World Today, 24(3), 89–110.

  • Rillo, A.D. (2017) ‘Monitoring the ASEAN Economic Community’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Saucedo, E. (eds.) Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration, UNU Series on regionalism (13), Cham: Springer Nature, pp. 287–297.

  • Rillo, A.D. and de la Cruz, V. (2016) ‘Monitoring Regional Economic Integration in Asia’, ADBI Policy Brief, 1.

  • Saaty, R.W. (1987) ‘The Analytic Hierarchy Process: What It Is and How It Is Used’, Mathematical Modelling, 9, 161–176.

  • Saaty, T.L. (1980) The Analytic Hierarchy Process, New York: McGraw-Hill.

  • Salmon, J.-M. (2017) ‘Monitoring Regional Integration in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Regions’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Saucedo, E. (eds.) Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration. Fourth World Report on Regional Integration. Cham: Springer, pp. 223–238.

  • Schlipphak, B. and Menniken, T. (2011) ‘Assessing Attitudes towards Integration Processes’, In: De Lombaerde, P., Flôres, R.G., Iapadre, P.L. and Schulz, M. (eds.) The Regional Integration Manual: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, pp. 24–50.

  • Schmitter, P. (1969) ‘Three Neo-Functional Hypotheses about International Integration’, International Organization, XXIII(1), 161–166.

  • SELA (2016) Integration Index for Latin America and the Caribbean, Caracas: SELA.

  • Standaert, S. and Rayp, G. (2022) ‘Where Did They Come From, Where Did They Go To? Bridging the Gaps in Migration Data’, UNU-CRIS Working Paper, 4.

  • Tanoe, D. (2017) ‘Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA): Indicators of Integration Effort in Africa’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Saucedo, E. (eds.) Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration. Fourth World Report on Regional Integration. Cham: Springer, pp. 209–222.

  • Thompson, W.R. (1973) ‘The Regional Subsystem: A Conceptual Explication and a Propositional Inventory’, International Studies Quarterly, 17(1), 89–117.

  • Tinbergen, J. (1954) International Economic Integration, Amsterdam: Elsevier.

  • UNECA (2001) Annual Report on Integration in Africa. Methodology for Calculating Indices of Economic Integration, Addis Ababa: UN Economic Commission for Africa.

  • UNECA (2002) Annual Report on Integration in Africa 2002, Addis Ababa: UN Economic Commission for Africa.

  • UNECA (2004) Assessing Regional Integration in Africa, Addis Ababa: UN Economic Commission for Africa.

  • UNECA (2018) Concept Note. A Revised Version of the African Regional Integration Index (ARII), Addis Ababa: UNECA.

  • UNESCWA (2006) Annual Review of Developments in Globalization and Regional Integration in the Arab Countries 2006, New York: United Nations.

  • UNESCWA (2007) Annual Review of Developments in Globalization and Regional Integration in the Arab Countries 2007, New York: United Nations, (E/ESCWA/GRID/2007/14).

  • UNESCWA (2008) Annual Review of Developments in Globalization and Regional Integration in the Arab Countries 2008, New York: United Nations, (E/ESCWA/EDGD/2008/4).

  • UNESCWA (2009) Annual Review of Developments in Globalization and Regional Integration in the Arab Countries 2009, New York: United Nations.

  • UNESCWA (2014) Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Beirut: United Nations.

  • UNESCWA (2015) Assessing Arab Economic Integration: Towards the Arab Customs Union, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Beirut: United Nations, (E/ESCWA/EDID/2015/4).

  • UNESCWA (2018) Assessing Arab Economic Integration. Trade in Services as a Driver of Growth and Development, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Beirut: United Nations, (E/ESCWA/EDID/2017/6).

  • UNESCWA (2021) User Guide Arab Economic Integration System of Indices, Beirut: UNESCWA.

  • Vinokurov, E. (ed.) (2014) The EDB System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration II. Centre for Integration Studies, Report no. 22. Eurasian Development Bank: Saint-Petersburg.

  • Vinokurov, E., Libman, A., De Lombaerde, P., Maqsimchook, N. and Moldabekov, E. (2010) The System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration, Almaty: EDB.

  • Vinokurov, E., Libman, A. and Pereboyev, V. (2017) ‘The EDB System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration: Eurasian Integration’s Trends from 1999 to 2012’, In: De Lombaerde, P. and Saucedo, E.J. (eds.) Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration, UNU Series on Regionalism, (13), Cham: Springer Nature, pp. 135–156.

  • Wiener, A. and Diez, T. (2009) European Integration Theory, Oxford: OUP.

  • World Bank/EAC Secretariat (2014) East African Common Market Scorecard 2014, Washington – Arusha: World Bank – EAC Secretariat.

  • Ye, Y.V. and Mikic, M. (2016) ‘The Index of Asia-Pacific Regional Integration Effort’, East Asian Economic Review, 20, 129–168.