Social Indicators Research

, Volume 140, Issue 3, pp 1279–1300 | Cite as

The Balanced Worth: A Procedure to Evaluate Performance in Terms of Ordered Attributes

  • Carmen Herrero
  • Antonio VillarEmail author


There are many problems in the social sciences that refer to the evaluation of the relative performance of some populations when their members’ achievements are described by a distribution of outcomes over a set of ordered categories. A new method for the evaluation of this type of problems is presented here. That method, called balanced worth, offers a cardinal, complete and transitive evaluation that is based on the likelihood of getting better results. The evaluation of each society is based on the probability of obtaining better results with respect to the others. The balanced worth is a refinement of “the worth” (Herrero and Villar in PLoS ONE 8(12):e84784, 2013. that overcomes its excessive sensitivity to the differences, due to the presence of ties. We also discuss how this method can be applied for the case of heterogeneous populations and show how it can be applied in different contexts. An empirical example, regarding life satisfaction in Spain is used to illustrate the working of this method.


Evaluation method Categorical variables Relative group performance 



Thanks are also due to Héctor García Peris, for his help in developing the algorithm that computes the evaluation, and to an anonymous referee for very helpful comments and suggestions. Funding was provided by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Grant Nos. ECO2015-65408-R, ECO2015-65820-P).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Alicante & IvieAlicanteSpain
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversidad Pablo de Olavide & IvieSevilleSpain

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