Indicator-based decision-making systems

Expert study (2008-2010)


Opportunities and risks of Indicator-based decision-making systems

Public authorities, organisations and other agencies believe that their credibility is enhanced if they refer to indicators; indicator-based decision-making appears to be objectivelly corroboated and well-founded. Indicators are used to justify measures, and can make it easier to understand why decisions are taken. They should therefore guarantee transparency and increase the efficiency of administrative, governmental and business activity. They also encourage politicians, economists and administrators to adopt a scientific approach. Nevertheless, little is known about whether the transparency and objectivity associated with indicators come at a price, namely as negative consequences. For instance, critical voices are likely to be raised if decisions based on indicators become nothing more than a purely administrative act or even automated. There is therefore an urgent need for a debate on the advantages and disadvantages of indicator-based decision-making.


Supported by

  • Centre for Technology Assessment TA-SWISS
  • Federal Statistical Office FSO
  • Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences SAHS
  • Federal Territory development Office ARE

Project mandataries

  • Ruth Feller-Länzlinger, lic.phil.I, INTERFACE, Institute for Policy Studies (Project Manager)
  • Corine Mauch, dipl. Ing. Agr. FIT and MPA (INTERFACE)
  • Dr rer. pol Stefan Rieder, INTERFACE
  • Prof. Dr Karl Weber, Central Office for Continuing Education at the University of Bern

Supervisory group

  • Dr phil. Rosmarie Waldner, science journalist (chairwoman of the support group)
  • Ariane Baechler Söderström, Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology OPET
  • Dr phil. André De Montmollin, Federal Statistical Office FSO
  • Dr phil. Maja Huber, Federal Statistical Office FSO
  • Michel Kammermann , Vice Director, Federal Statistical Office FSO
  • Miriam Kull, Educational economist (Master), Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education SCCRE/SKBF/CSRE
  • René Longet, Equiterre, Geneva
  • Dr phil. Sabine Maasen, University of Basel
  • Dr phil. Heinz Rhyn, Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education EDK
  • Prof. Dr Daniel Wachter, Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE
  • Dr phil. Markus Zürcher, Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences SAHS

TA-SWISS project management

  • Dr Lucienne Rey, external collaborator of TA-SWISS, e-mail

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