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Assessment of criteria-rich rankings for decision makers

Özdoğlar, Mehmet Raşit
Environmental policymaking is a difficult issue for governments. It is desirable to have the decisions based on the results of quantitative and analytical studies. On the other hand, by their very nature, many such decisions have political aspects, whose subtleties are difficult to be captured by quantitative approaches alone. It is left to the political establishments to decide how best to allocate the efforts to improve environmental conditions. In this respect, evaluating the countries by generating environmental indices and the subsequent ranking of the countries with respect to those indices is a common practice. Perhaps the best known environmental sustainability index, the Environmental Performance Index-2008 (EPI-2008), is a composite index that comprises 6 core policy categories and 25 indicators. While recognizing the qualitative aspects of such decision making, in order to support and guide the policymaking process, we develop analytical tools to assist the process. We carefully delineate our models to be limited only to the provable quantitative properties of the available objective data. However, such data are processed into more meaningful statements concerning the available options. Specifically, using EPI-2008, meaningful mathematical models that shed further light onto the country sustainability measures are developed.