To read this content please select one of the options below:

Beyond the equal-weight framework of the Social Progress Index: Identifying causal relationships for policy reforms

Boonlert Jitmaneeroj (School of Business, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok, Thailand) (Essex Business School, University of Essex, Colchester, UK)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 4 December 2017




Although the Social Progress Index offers a thorough overview of the top-ranked countries with a highly developed social performance, it assigns the same weight to all component scores, implying that each component has identical and independent contribution to the SPI. By removing these flawed assumptions, the purpose of this paper is to examine the causal relationships among component scores and identify the critical components for reform priorities.


The authors propose an alternative approach to exploring the causal relationships and prioritizing the underlying components of the SPI. The four-step methodology comprises cluster analysis, data mining, partial least square path modeling, and importance-performance matrix analysis.


The authors find evidence of causal interrelations between the 12 components of the SPI. To accelerate social progress, the authors suggest that policy makers should allocate resources in order of priority to personal freedom and choice, personal rights, access to advanced education, water and sanitation, access to information and communications, tolerance and inclusion, personal safety, shelter, ecosystem sustainability, nutrition and basic medical care, health and wellness, and, finally, access to basic knowledge.

Practical implications

Policy makers in government, business, and civil society should become aware of causal relationships among the 12 components of the SPI and select an appropriate methodology to prioritize areas where social improvement is most needed.


Allowing for unequal weighting and causal relationships between component scores of the SPI, the authors’ methodology is the first attempt to offer a concrete way to identify which areas of social progress should constitute priorities for policy reforms.



Jitmaneeroj, B. (2017), "Beyond the equal-weight framework of the Social Progress Index: Identifying causal relationships for policy reforms", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 44 No. 12, pp. 2336-2350.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles