European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Department of Economics Working Papers,
Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics

Summarizing Data using Partially Ordered Set Theory: An Application to Fiscal Frameworks in 97 Countries

Julia Bachtrögler (), Harald Badinger (), Aurélien Fichet de Clairfontaine () and Wolf Heinrich Reuter ()
Additional contact information
Julia Bachtrögler: Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Harald Badinger: Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business and Austrian Institute of Economic Research
Aurélien Fichet de Clairfontaine: Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Wolf Heinrich Reuter: Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Abstract: The widespread use of composite indices has often been motivated by their practicality to quantify qualitative data in an easy and intuitive way. At the same time, this approach has been challenged due to the subjective and partly ad hoc nature of computation, aggregation and weighting techniques as well as the handling of missing data. Partially ordered set (POSET) theory offers an alternative approach for summarizing qualitative data in terms of quantitative indices, which relies on a computation scheme that fully exploits the available information and does not require the subjective assignment of weights. The present paper makes the case for an increased use of POSET theory in the social sciences and provides a comparison of POSET indices and composite indices (from previous studies) measuring the 'stringency' of fiscal frameworks using data from the OECD Budget Practices and Procedures survey (2007/08).

Keywords: Partially Ordered Set Theory, Composite Indices, Index Functions, Fiscal Frameworks, Fiscal Rules, Budgetary Procedures

JEL-codes: C43; H60; E02; E62 August 2014

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