The European Quality of Government Index (EQI) captures average citizens’ perceptions and experiences with corruption, quality and impartiality of three essential public services – health, education and policing - in their region of residence. The 2021 edition sheds light into main patterns and trends over the past decade and adds an in-depth qualitative analysis on the situation of four regions - the Basque Country and Catalonia in Spain and Lubelskie and Opolskie in Poland.
The fourth edition of the EQI, published in 2021 is based on the largest survey to date to measure the perceptions of quality of government in the EU. The survey collects the opinion and direct experience on public health-care, education and law enforcement of over 129,000 respondents in a total of 208 regions in all EU 27 member states, at the NUTS1 or NUTS2 level. The survey questions are based on the concept of quality of government as a broad, multi-dimensional concept consisting of high impartiality and quality of public service delivery, along with low corruption. The concept also refers to how power is actually exercised, not necessarily the de jure formal rules but rather the de facto rules as perceived and experienced by the citizens. In other words, the EQI can be said to describe the informal practices of formal institutions.
The 2021 EQI builds on and improves the data from the three previous rounds, published in 2010, 2013 and 2017. There are significant regional differences in some countries - Italy, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Poland France, including its overseas regions, and Slovenia, in particular – but very little in others, the Nordic countries, especially, but also Austria and Slovakia. Slovenia is also a noteworthy case, with the eastern, capital region (SI03) being roughly 0.6 standard deviations above the western region of SI04. Thanks to the new NUTS2 classification, for the first time the capital region (IE06) is assessed separately from the other two and scores significantly lower than the Southern region (IE05), taken into account the margins of error. The capital regions play different roles in different countries: the capital has the lowest EQI level in some countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia), while in others it scores the highest (i.e. Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovenia).
Four editions of the index are now available and show improvement or decline over time. The central finding of this 2021 round of the EQI is in one way very similar to previous rounds: when it comes to the quality of the government, it seems to matter just as much in which region as in which country you live. The EQI results show overall continuity, with many high-(low) performing regions obtaining similar scores in all the index editions. Yet some important changes can be noticed, such as remarkable falls in several regions in Poland and Hungary, and significant increases in regions in Slovenia Latvia.
The EQI project includes an in-depth qualitative analysis of the situation of relevant cases as well. In the 2021 edition four regions are selected: the Basque Country and Catalonia in Spain and Lubelskie and Opolskie in Poland. In both countries, there are regions with very diverse results and very diverse time evolutions in the EQI scores. These regions represent interesting cases deserving further investigation based on a qualitative methodology complementing the EQI analysis. To this aim, a team of country experts interviewed public officials, representatives of business, media and civil society in the regions, to explore the main reasons behind the evolution of quality of government in their region. The focus of this qualitative analysis is broader than that of the EQI as it is not limited exclusively to the quality of the public services delivered by the regional government but rather on those services delivered in the region, irrespective of whether they are provided by national, regional or local authorities.
Interactive maps are provided here to help the users navigate through data. Maps provide an overall view of the spatial pattern of the EQI and its three dimensions, quality, impartiality and corruption for all the four editions available so far. Please note that the 2010, 2013 and 2017 EQI scores are adjusted to the EU27 sample, excluding the UK, for comparability.
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