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Mapping the Regional Divide in Europe: A Measure for Assessing Quality of Government in 206 European Regions

Journal article
Authors Nicholas Charron
L. Dijkstra
Victor Lapuente
Published in Social Indicators Research
Volume 122
Issue 2
Pages 315-346
ISSN 0303-8300
Publication year 2015
Published at Quality of Government Institute (QoG)
Department of Political Science
Pages 315-346
Language en
Keywords Governance, Corruption, Regions, Europe, Composite index, ECONOMIC-GROWTH, CORRUPTION, INSTITUTIONS, GOVERNANCE, CULTURE, Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary, Sociology
Subject categories Sociology, Human Geography


Do aspects of quality of government, broadly defined, such as corruption, impartiality, and quality of public services, vary below the country level? The concept of quality of government (QoG) and various measures to assess it have become more ubiquitous in several social science disciplines. QoG is related with economic and social development, better environmental conditions, and better quality of life. Yet while governance indicators have proliferated in recent years, their focus remains almost universally on analysis at the country level. Moreover, the majority of indices rely on expert assessments, as opposed to the assessments of citizens, who are the on-the-ground consumers of public services. Building on a preliminary round of data collected in 2010, this study, for which data were collected in 2013, presents a novel and comprehensive index that captures the quality of governance for 206 regions in 24 European countries. The 'European Quality of Government Index', which will be published free for scholarly use, is built on the largest survey to date focusing on governance at the regional level; over 85,000 citizens were surveyed. The instrument proposed here builds on both perceptions and experiences of citizens in public service areas such as health care, education, and law enforcement. The paper presents final results of the survey, as well as a sensitivity analysis and checks for external and internal validity.

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