The Catch-Up Index

The Catch-Up Index aims at answering the question to what extent the EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe (EU10+1) are catching-up with the “older”, “Western” member states? The Index registers the level of convergence or divergence along four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance. The Index also includes the EU candidate and potential candidate countries, so there are 35 countries covered by the Index.

The basic questions about the “catching up” are:

  • Are the countries becoming richer, more developed economically, more financially stable and with better economic potential?
  • Are the citizens living better – within more healthy societies, living longer and with higher incomes, in more equal societies, with more social cohesion, less poverty, better educated?
  • Are the countries more democratic, value democracy more, with freer media, more trust among citizens and higher standards for human rights?
  • Are the countries better governed, less corrupt, have better regulation, politically stable and have low conflict potential and crime levels?

How is “catching-up” measured?

The Catch-Up Index allows for comparisons, registering of progress, monitoring of countries and groups of countries across different categories and indicators and contributes to the development of analyses and policy recommendations.

The Catch-Up Index contains four categories – Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance for the 35 countries included in the Index. There are scores for each category: Economy Score, Quality of Life Score, Democracy Score and Governance Score. There is an Overall Score, composed of the scores for the four categories. The standardized scores make possible different rankings, comparisons, benchmarking, monitoring of performance for countries and groups of countries across categories and indicators, and contribute to policy analysis and recommendations.

Each category is measured through selected indicators and sub-indicators. The various data for the indicators is converted into scores, weighted on the basis of the Index methodology. The indicator scores make up the scores for the four different categories.

The Catch-Up Index is a composite index, using a specifically designed model developed to capture a multi-dimensional picture of complex concepts. The index, like any such construct, has many limitations and does not aspire to provide the ultimate answers. But it will be helpful in focusing attention on specific problem areas (or success stories) and aid in generating policy recommendations.

More information about the methodology can be found on the website of the initiative at