The Recoupling Dashboard: Agency Index

The Recoupling Dashboard presents new indexes of solidarity and agency alongside indexes of economic prosperity (GDP per capita) and environmental sustainability (the Environmental Performance Index). Solidarity and agency are empirical phenomena that are distinct from GDP per capita, in both time series and cross-section terms. 

Since solidarity, agency, GDP per capita and environmental performance represent different value-driven purposes and different sources of human wellbeing, the combination of these indexes provides a broader overview of the quality of life than do indexes of economic prosperity and environmental sustainability alone.

Agency concerns people’s ability to influence their own economic fortunes through their own efforts and freedom from economic hardship. Thus, in the Agency Index, country performance is measured across five key components:

Labor market insecurity

is an indicator for expected earnings losses in case of unemployment and includes the risk of becoming unemployed, the expected duration of unemployment and the degree of mitigation against these losses provided by government transfers to the unemployed (effective insurance). 

Vulnerable employment

is measured as contributing family workers and own-account workers as a percentage of total employment.

Life expectancy

serves as a proxy for life, health and working conditions that are a prerequisite for empowered life decisions.

Years in Education

is measured as mean years of schooling of the population aged 25 years and above. 

Confidence in empowering institutions

measures the degree to which people believe that their government serves their needs. In measure of the Recoupling Dashboard this is based on the question: “In this country, do you have confidence in [: : : ] the national government?”

Agency Index Scores and Rankings 2007 to 2018

The Recoupling Dashboard analyzes data from 35 countries for the years 2007 to 20181. Over the past decade the results show that some countries experienced a decline in scores or the score remained unchanged, while the score increased for others.

The Agency Index is calculated as the arithmetic mean of the standardized input variables. We provide data for 35 countries for the years from 2007-2018. While 21 countries exhibit a rising Agency Index between 2007 and 2018, 8 have deteriorated and 6 remained unchanged. Among the countries that have experienced a decrease in the Agency Index score are Greece, Spain and Mexico. An increase is observed for example in Japan, Germany and Australia. In the US, the Agency Index decreased after the 2008 financial crises but has recovered since 2013, although one component of the index – confidence in empowering institutions – decreased dramatically over the past decade.

Due to incomplete data, the Agency Index scores for Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa include only the variables vulnerable employment, life expectancy, and years in education.

In the following table, you can see the World Rankings for the Agency Index. For the years 2007 to 2018, the index shows which country was ranked in which position out of 35 countries based on its Agency Index score. The score is shown to the right of the country name. Move the table to the right to see the results of data analysis for subsequent years. The development of selected countries can be tracked by color.

World Ranking per year201820172016201520142013201220112010200920082007
3Canada0,89Luxembourg0,89Luxembourg0,9Germany0,9Norway0,89Norway0,88Norway0,88Norway0,88Norway0,86New Zealand0,81Denmark0,86Finland0,87
5Norway0,86Norway0,86Norway0,86Norway0,85New Zealand0,85Canada0,83Sweden0,84Canada0,84Canada0,84Norway0,85Australia0,85Norway0,86
6Finland0,84New Zealand0,84New Zealand0,85New Zealand0,85Canada0,84Sweden0,82Canada0,83New Zealand0,83Netherlands0,83Switzerland0,86Canada0,85Netherlands0,85
7New Zealand0,84Finland0,84Finland0,83Denmark0,83Iceland0,82Iceland0,82Finland0,83Finland0,82New Zealand0,83Iceland0,74Norway0,84New Zealand0,84
8Netherlands0,84Iceland0,83Denmark0,83Finland0,83Sweden0,82New Zealand0,81New Zealand0,82Germany0,82Sweden0,82Ireland0,69Netherlands0,83Denmark0,83
10Denmark0,83Netherlands0,83Netherlands0,82Netherlands0,81Denmark0,8Netherlands0,79Netherlands0,81Netherlands0,82Germany0,81Sweden0,8New Zealand0,8Belgium0,8
12Ireland0,82Ireland0,81Austria0,81Sweden0,8Japan0,8Belgium0,79United Kingdom0,78United Kingdom0,79United Kingdom0,8United States0,79France0,77Germany0,79
13Japan0,81United Kingdom0,81Australia0,81Australia0,8Israel0,8Denmark0,79Austria0,77Austria0,78Finland0,79United Kingdom0,75United States0,77Ireland0,78
14United Kingdom0,81Australia0,81United Kingdom0,8United Kingdom0,8Austria0,79Finland0,78France0,76United States0,76Israel0,78Austria0,79Belgium0,75United States0,78
15Australia0,81Japan0,81Japan0,8Japan0,79Australia0,79Japan0,78Israel0,76France0,75United States0,77Germany0,85Ireland0,75Austria0,76
16Austria0,8Austria0,81Ireland0,8Ireland0,79United Kingdom0,79Austria0,78United States0,76Iceland0,74France0,75Luxembourg0,93United Kingdom0,74United Kingdom0,76
17Czech Republic0,8Israel0,79Israel0,79Israel0,79Belgium0,78United Kingdom0,76Belgium0,75Ireland0,74Iceland0,74Israel0,74Iceland0,74France0,74
18Belgium0,8Belgium0,79Belgium0,78Belgium0,78United States0,76France0,76Iceland0,75Israel0,74Japan0,74Belgium0,74Austria0,73Iceland0,74
19Israel0,8Czech Republic0,79Czech Republic0,78United States0,77Ireland0,75United States0,74Russian Federation0,73Japan0,73Belgium0,72Italy0,67Japan0,72Japan0,72
20United States0,78United States0,78United States0,77Czech Republic0,77Russian Federation0,74Russian Federation0,73Japan0,72Russian Federation0,73Russian Federation0,72Spain0,66Spain0,71Spain0,71
21Russian Federation0,76Russian Federation0,75France0,75France0,75Czech Republic0,73Ireland0,69Ireland0,7Belgium0,72Czech Republic0,7France0,77Russian Federation0,71Russian Federation0,7
22France0,75France0,75Russian Federation0,75Russian Federation0,74France0,72Czech Republic0,68Czech Republic0,65Czech Republic0,67Ireland0,69Poland0,64Czech Republic0,71Czech Republic0,7
23Hungary0,73Hungary0,72Hungary0,7Hungary0,68Hungary0,68Hungary0,67Italy0,63Hungary0,66Italy0,65Czech Republic0,7Israel0,69Israel0,69
28Portugal0,63Spain0,62Spain0,59South Africa0,58South Africa0,57Turkey0,56Mexico0,57Turkey0,58Greece0,57Brazil0,5Chile0,63Poland0,61
29South Africa0,61South Africa0,6South Africa0,59Spain0,56Turkey0,57South Africa0,56Turkey0,57Mexico0,57Portugal0,57Russian Federation0,71Mexico0,58Portugal0,6
31Mexico0,57Mexico0,56Brazil0,56Mexico0,55Brazil0,55Brazil0,54South Africa0,54Greece0,52Turkey0,53South Africa0,51Turkey0,52Turkey0,52
32Greece0,55Greece0,55Greece0,55Brazil0,55Spain0,52Spain0,51Brazil0,53South Africa0,52South Africa0,52Portugal0,54Brazil0,49Brazil0,47
33China0,51Turkey0,52Turkey0,54Greece0,55China0,48China0,47Greece0,46Brazil0,51Brazil0,51Greece0,6South Africa0,48South Africa0,45

Data Sources

1 Data from external, international sources were used to take up the already established indexes of economic prosperity and environmental sustainability on the one hand, and to determine the indexes first presented with the Recoupling Dashboard on the other – The indexes of solidarity and agency are based on data exclusively provided.

Labour market insecurity (OECD)

This indicator is defined in terms of the expected earnings loss, measured as the percentage of the previous earnings, associated with unemployment. This loss depends on the risk of becoming unemployed, the expected duration of unemployment and the degree of mitigation against these losses provided by government transfers to the unemployed (effective insurance).

Vulnerable employment (World Bank)

Vulnerable employment is contributing family workers and own-account workers as a percentage of total employment.

Life Expectancy (OECD)

Life expectancy measures how long on average people could expect to live based on the age-specific death rates currently prevailing. This measure refers to people born today and is computed as a weighted average of life expectancy for men and women.

Years in Education (UNESCO)

Mean years of schooling provides the average number of years of education (primary/ISCED 1 or higher) completed by a country’s adult population (25 years and older), excluding years spent repeating grades.

Confidence in empowering institutions (OECD/Gallup World Poll)

Confidence in empowering institutions is based on the question: “In this country, do you have confidence in each of the following, or not? How about national government?” The percentage of “yes” answers is reflected here. Data comes from the Gallup World Poll and is extracted from the OECD Trust Dataset.

Press Contact

Are you interested in more information or in scheduling an interview? Please contact Christine Coester, Head of Communications via e-mail: More information on the Recoupling Dashboard can be found in the Recoupling Dashboard press kit.

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