We consider the issue of ranking regions with respect to a range of economic and social variables. Departing from the current practice of aggregating different dimensions via a composite index, usually based on an arithmetic mean, we instead use stochastic multi-attribute acceptability analysis (SMAA). SMAA considers the ‘whole space’ of weights for the considered dimensions. The methodology is applied to the ranking of Italian regions, showing that although the north–south divide is definitely wider than the one measured simply in terms of gross domestic product. There are southern regions that perform generally better than those belonging to their broad region: a kind of ‘northern regions within the southern broad region’. This result poses interesting questions about the uneven development of Italian regions.
- stochastic multi-attribute acceptability analysis (SMAA)
- regional development
- multiple criteria ranking
- composite index
- multidimensional Gini indices
- multidimensional polarization indices