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Measuring Active Ageing: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach

Amado, C. J.S. José, S. Santos (2016), "Measuring Active Ageing: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach", European Journal of Operational Research, 255(1), 207-223.

The ‘Active Ageing Index’ was created with the purpose of helping policy makers implement and monitor active ageing policies both at European and national levels. However, this index has not fully achieved this purpose. In this article we propose a methodological approach based on Data Envelopment Analysis to enhance the measurement of active ageing in the European Union countries. We use a model with 22 indicators grouped into four domains. By introducing different types of virtual weight restrictions, we combine normative judgements with an optimisation procedure, showing each country in the best possible light. Furthermore, we undertake a sensitivity analysis regarding the effect of varying the limits of the relative contribution of each domain.

The results show that the proposed approach has great potential in this context, allowing the comparison of countries and the identification of relevant targets and benchmarks, even when there is uncertainty regarding the relative importance of the indicators and domains considered. For most countries, the results are robust regarding different levels of flexibility for the relative contribution of each domain. We identify six countries that represent relevant benchmarks for the underperforming countries. The underperforming countries have some potential for improvement in terms of active ageing, whilst respecting their preferences and specificities for the processes that can be used to actively age. Based on a flexible evaluation of the countries, we contribute to develop a better tool to guide the European Union countries towards the formulation and monitoring of more effective policy measures to promote active ageing.