Measuring Youth Development: A Nonparametric Cross-Country ‘Youth Welfare Index’

Measuring Youth Development: A Nonparametric Cross-Country ‘Youth Welfare Index’

This article examines the empirical methodology for the development of a multi-dimensional framework that carries out cross country comparison of the techniques applied by different countries in improving the living standards of the youths. It addresses the Youth Welfare Index that is a methodology for performance evaluation and ranking based on the social indicators of youth development. There is a growing global concern for the welfare of the youthful population. As such, these monitoring techniques are influential in providing facts and figures on national and international performance that helps to evaluate the progress made by countries towards attaining the shared goals of development. The United Nations, for instance, employs the use of social indicators such as the Human Development Index (HDI), whereas the European Union prefers the use of Social Inclusion Indicators.

The developing countries are the most challenged as they have the most significant numbers of youth cohorts in the modern era. Unfortunately, youths in these regions suffer from economic, health, social and educational exclusion and marginalization. Therefore, the YWI is a tool of necessity that would help identify the problem areas to assist in the development of appropriate socio-economic policies (Chaaban, 351). The methodology applied in the YWI borrows from the tracing and ranking system used by the Social Inclusion Indicator of the EU. YWI provide an alternative after countries revealed dissatisfaction with the HDI due to its inability to categorize social concepts differently. The HDI measures collective combined social dimensions of a state into a single figure, and this provided a generalized outlook on the development process. This article also discusses the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) as an efficient frontier for evaluation youth exclusion index. The DEA provides appropriate rankings systems that compare the countries growth over time. It also helps countries identify areas that require improvement. Unfortunately, the DEA methodology has selected data limitations.


The Youth Welfare Index is an essential statistical parameter that will assist countries to realize economic growth. In as much as the youths are the most active population, they make up the largest dependent population index in third world countries.  As such, there is need to put in place appropriate socio-economic and political policies that will allow the active and equal participation of the youth in the development of the societies. Developing countries need to invest in both short term and long term economic strategies that target the youthful population. For the developing countries that are working towards attaining the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the Youth Welfare Index will serve as a central monitoring and tracking tool for evaluating the effectivity of the country’s socio-economic policies.  The Youth Welfare Index, unlike the HDI, targets a specific group of the population (youths). The HDI categorizes the youthful population as one of the subcomponents consolidated within the single figure of Human development. Therefore, it gives generalized results of the entire community.

Developing countries are encouraged to use the YWI as it categorically focuses on youths. YWI allows states to establish specific policies for the youthful population as it is common to have countries with advanced youth-related systems but weak social development indexes.  The specificity of YWI makes it easy to consolidate and analyze data on youths using both empirical and statistical studies.  Countries are also encouraged to apply the DEA methodology as it provides a comparative measure between the input and output strategies used for youth development. Furthermore, it highlights the areas of interest that need to be addressed by the country. Tackling the challenges affecting the youth is the only way to realize economic growth in developing states as they make up over half of the population.

Works Cited

Chaaban, Jad M. “Measuring Youth Development: A Nonparametric Cross-Country ‘Youth Welfare Index’.” Social Indicators Research, vol. 93, no. 2, 2008, pp. 351-358.

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