Social Indicators Research

, Volume 122, Issue 2, pp 315–346 | Cite as

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

  • Nicholas Charron
  • Lewis Dijkstra
  • Victor Lapuente


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.


Governance Corruption Regions Europe Composite index 



Funding for this project comes from the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development of the European Union. This research project is part of ANTICORP (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Charron
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lewis Dijkstra
    • 3
  • Victor Lapuente
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Business and PoliticsCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  2. 2.Quality of Government InstituteUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  3. 3.Directorate-General for Regional Policy (REGIO)European CommissionBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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