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Time distance monitoring of implementation of targets
Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Test application for EU2020 targets by countries and free software tool

Monitoring implementation of targets is an integral part of policy making at many levels and in many domains. The innovation is that implementation of targets is described in two dimensions: static deviation from the line to target at a given point in time and S-time-deviation at a given level of the indicator. Describing the implementation of targets as leading or lagging in time against the line to well-known targets is a very useful application in the policy debate that enhances knowledge, giving data a value beyond spreadsheets. Expressed in time units, S-time-distance is easily understood by policy makers, managers, media and general public thus being an excellent presentation tool for policy analysis and debate. It can help us to form a new perception of the magnitude of the gap between the implementation and proclaimed targets for a given indicator as well as across more indicators.


We measure deviations in two dimensions. Firstly, one can measure the difference in variables at a given point in time. And secondly, discrepancies in time (either time lead or time lag) are measured. Monitoring implementation in time is like comparing train or bus arrivals with the timetable provided for each mode of transport. The statistical chart uses the same identifiers as Formula 1 on TV: drivers who score a minus at time distance are shown in green to signify that they are ahead in time. 

The table for EU 28 countries for 2013 (or 2012) shows the results from 2010 on. Yet the summary results confirm the earlier conclusions. For the headline indicator employment rate 20 countries are behind the schedule, 11 of them had in 2013 values below those in 2010 starting year. For 11 countries there was no progress in the 2010-2013 period for employment rate. The earlier graph that contained also the worse years of the financial crisis showed even a more serious situation. The time distance method, either for monitoring or for benchmarking in the time perspective, brings the second dimension of deviations or disparities that the present state-of-the-art is neglecting. 

For early leavers nine countries were in 2013 already better than their 2020 targets, this holds true for tertiary attainment for 10 countries; with only six countries being behind the schedule for both indicators. The headline indicator renewable energy also more countries are ahead of schedule than behind it, but with fewer cases that already reached the 2020 targets. R&D in GDP indicates a different picture, with 9 countries ahead and 16 countries behind the schedule; overall it is closer with the employment rate situation than with the other three indicators. 

The average for EU28 S-time-distance deviations express the situation with being ahead or behind the track to 2020 targets in simple terms: employment rate is more than 3 years behind, R&D 1.2 years behind, renewably energy 0.6 years, early leavers 2.1 years and tertiary attainment 2.4 years, ahead of  the line to the 2020 target.   

Software for time distance monitoring of targets from your own data: 

For time distance monitoring of implementation of targets, as shown for examples of indicators for EU2020 and UN Millennium Development Goals, SICENTER developed on www.gaptimer.eu a software tool to facilitate interested users to use the method for their own data. The tool can be accessed on http://www.gaptimer.eu/s-t-d_monitoring_tool.html


 
European Union at a Glance
Thursday, 08 May 2014

Statistical portrait with innovative table-graphs for 30 selected indicators over 28 countries in time perspective


European Union at a Glance presents an easily understandable overview of 30 selected indicators over 28 EU countries in time, which is probably the most condensed current summary picture of dynamics and disparities in the EU over many domains over time.

The Gaptimer Report No. 3 is timely publication very useful for discussion of the situation in the EU in light of the forthcoming new European Commission and European Parliament and at the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the largest EU expansion in 2004.

List of 30 selected indicators

 

Indicators

Data range

Top country (last year)

1

Life expectancy at birth

1960-2012

Spain

2

Human Development Index

1980-2012

Netherlands

3

GDP per capita in PPS

1995-2012

Luxembourg

4

Median income in PPS

1995-2013

Luxembourg

5

Employment rate (15 to 64 years)

1992-2012

Netherlands

6

Activity rate (15 to 64 years)

1992-2012

Sweden

7

Share of gross fixed investment in GDP

1954-2013

Estonia

8

R&D expenditure (GERD), percent of GDP

1981-2012

Finland

9

Summary Innovation Index

2008-2012

Sweden

10

Tertiary attainment for age group 15-64

2000-2013

Ireland

11

Proportion of population aged 65 years and more

1961-2013

Italy

12

Old age dependency ratio, projections 2013-2080

2013-2080

Slovakia

13

Population growth rates, total

1961-2013

Luxembourg

14

Persons killed in road accidents per million inhabitants

1990-2012

United Kingdom

15

Death due to homicide, standardised death rate by 100 000 inh.

1994-2010

United Kingdom

16

Infant mortality rate

1960-2012

Slovenia

17

At-risk-of-poverty (percent of total population)

1995-2012

Czech Republic

18

At-risk-of-poverty (percent of elderly population)

1995-2013

Hungary

19

Income quintile share ratio S80/S20

1995-2013

Slovenia

20

GINI coefficient

1995-2013

Slovenia

21

Early leavers from education and training

1992-2013

Croatia

22

Healthy life years at birth - females

1995-2012

Malta

23

Healthy life years at birth - males

1999-2012

Malta

24

Households with broadband access

2003-2013

Finland

25

Regular Internet use

2003-2013

Luxembourg

26

Share of energy from renewable sources

2004-2012

Sweden

27

Urban population exposure to air pollution by particulate matter PM10

1997-2011

Denmark

28

Publications per million inhabitants

1994-2010

Denmark

29

Proportion of seats in national parliaments held by women

2000-2013

Sweden

30

Current account balance in % of GDP

1975-2013

Netherlands



AN ADDITIONAL WAY OF PRESENTATION ACROSS MANY UNITS AND MANY YEARS

It uses innovative time matrix presentation format that enables such condensed summary visual presentation over many countries and over time. Secondly, 30 selected indicators from many Eurostat indicators systems like Quality of life; Sustainable Development Indicators, Digital Agenda, Headline Indicators, etc. follow the orientation of Beyond GDP. Annex A1 provides Time Matrix Calculator to calculate time matrix for your own data. 

The 30 time matrices give rich food for thought and imagination of readers can find numerous comparisons and stories in the material. One of them is that the damage done to countries by the world financial crisis is seen in a much greater scale when we look for 28 countries beyond GDP and look at employment, investment share, risk of poverty, income distribution, health, etc.

While media and also official organizations are focusing on discussion of GDP growth rate, such orientation understated the severity of the crisis.

Other domains showed a more difficult situation:

  •  employment rate fell in 20 EU countries;
  •  in all 28 EU countries without exception share of gross investment in GDP decreased;
  •  risk of poverty as percent of total population increased in 24 EU countries;
  •  income distribution worsened as Gini coefficient and income quartile share ratio increased in 25 EU countries;
  •  healthy life years at birth decreased for males and females in 15-18 EU countries.

The voyage through 30 time matrices for 28 countries compressed a very large amount of data, expressing multidimensional nature of development and well-being, indicating both visually and in numbers that very large differences exist between EU countries with respects to levels and dynamics. Using the innovative approach of time distance methodology the telling power of S-time-matrix provided a good summary overview at-a-glance over many domains with clear understanding to decision-makers as well as to the general public. Seeing with new eyes creates new knowledge and better understanding.

FULL TEXT: 

 
Astonishing Differences in Gender Disparity in Life Expectancy between Countries
Wednesday, 07 May 2014

How much longer live women than men around the globe?

Gender disparities in life expectancy are analysed in Gaptimer Report No. 2 ‘How much longer live women than men around the globe?’ World inequalities are studied by combining two sets of statistical measures: static gap at a given point in time and gap in time for a given level of the indicator, providing a broader picture.

Firstly, it offers an innovative approach for looking at disparities over many units and over time. The new time distance measure, expressed in time units, is easy to understand by everybody and offers a novel way to compare situations in economics, politics, business and statistics. The time distance concept can influence the perception and decisions of people when they are assessing their relative position in their surroundings, in the society and across countries over time.

‘As Sicherl (1973, 1993) proposes … observed time distance is a dynamic measure of temporal disparity between the two series intuitively clear, readily measurable, and in transparent units. It is suggested that one should complement conventional measures with horizontal measures.’ (Granger and Jeon, 1997)
C.W.J. Granger and Y. Jeon, University of California at San Diego 

Secondly, the empirical results concentrate on gender disparity in life expectancy around the globe (at the world level for 196 countries and some aggregates; for EU27 countries with 269 NUTS2 regions). While female life expectancy at birth is higher than that for males for 99.5 percent of the world population, there are astonishing differences among countries. For example, Estonia occupied rank 51 the world for females and 110 for males. On the other extreme, e.g. the rank for Qatar was 65 for females and only 12 for males.

The time distance measure shows the reality with new eyes. The overall life expectancy the static difference between China and Sweden was less than 10 percent (which may appear to be small) while the S-time-distance was 51 years, (which gives a very different perception of the magnitude of the gap). For gender disparity in life expectancy S-time-distance for the world average, i.e. the horizontal time gap between trends of female and male life expectancy amounted to 20 years, 28 years for the EU27 and 35 years for the USA, showing a large and persistent gap in favour of women.   

 
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