In this global and highly competitive environment, to understand a complex phenomenon and compare countries in a meaningful and manageable way, we often turn to composite indicators or indexes. There is a mix of public or private and national or international institutions providing indexes of complex phenomenon. Most notables are the World Competitiveness Index, Globalization Index, the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, or the Nation Brand Index just to mention a few.
Indexes are very useful as they provide a simple number for a complex phenomenon and allow a relative objective comparison across countries. An index is a quantitative, qualitative or a mix measure derived from a series of observed facts that can reveal relative positions of countries for a specific phenomenon. There are at least four reasons to justify the construction and use of indexes. First, the summary statistic can indeed capture the multi-dimensionality of the phenomenon studied. Second, the index is meaningful and easier to interpret than a set of different and separate indicators. Third, it allows conducting benchmark studies and assessing the progress of countries over time. Fourth, it facilitates the communication with other stakeholders or the general public.