Social Indicators Research

, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 337–354 | Cite as

Choosing Aggregation Rules for Composite Indicators

  • Giuseppe Munda


From a formal point of view, a composite indicator is an aggregate of all dimensions, objectives, individual indicators and variables used for its construction. This implies that what defines a composite indicator is the set of properties underlying its mathematical aggregation convention. In this article, I try to revise the theoretical debate on aggregation rules by looking at contributions from both voting theory and multi-criteria decision analysis. This cross-fertilization helps in clarifying many ambiguous issues still present in the literature and allows discussing the key assumptions that may change the evaluation of an aggregation rule easily, when a composite indicator has to be constructed.


Voting paradoxes Multi-criteria decision analysis Rational choice 

JEL Classification

C43 C82 



Part of this article is based on Chapter 6 of Munda (2008)—Social multi-criteria evaluation for a sustainable economy, Springer, Heidelberg, New York. This research has been partially developed in the framework of the Spanish Government financially supported project “NISAL” SEJ2007-60845.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Economic HistoryUniversitat Autonoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental Sciences and TechnologiesUniversitat Autonoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain

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