Book chapter

Sigma-convergence as a measure of territorial cohesion

Publication date2013

The proposed paper will focus on a specific tool for interpreting the indicators of territorial cohesion selected in the ESPON INTERCO project : sigma-convergence. By means of a combined analytical and participatory approach, INTERCO selected and prioritised indicators usable by policy makers. From more than 600 potential indicators identified in the first phase of the project, INTERCO finalised 32 top indicators organised in 6 territorial objectives. Once the indicators selected, their classical displays of as values at one point in time (e.g. GDP per capita in 2010 at NUTS3 level) or as trends (e.g. evolution of GDP per capita 2000-2010) are not sufficient to assess territorial cohesion. An additional measure of the disparities between territories is proposed in order to understand whether Europe moves toward territorial cohesion or not : sigma-convergence. Originally developed in the economics domain, sigma-convergence can be calculated for each selected indicator of territorial cohesion using the coefficient of variation (i.e. the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean). The evolution of this coefficient through time allows its interpretation in terms of reduction of differences between territories, hence in terms of trend towards territorial cohesion. Provided that time-series data are available (which is a key criterion for the selection of indicators in the INTERCO project), sigma-convergence of the various indicators can be further compared in order to get a synthetic view over multiple themes. The quantitative and visual application of sigma-convergence to INTERCO indicators is presented. Strengths and weaknesses in the use of the sigma-convergence measure are further discussed. The article concludes with recommendations for future applications of sigma-convergence for the selection and the presentation of indicators, as well as for their interpretation in terms of territorial cohesion by policy makers.

  • Territorial cohesion
  • Europe
  • Indicators
  • Sigma-convergence
Citation (ISO format)
DAO, Quoc-Hy, PLAGNAT CANTOREGGI, Pauline, ROUSSEAUX, Vanessa. Sigma-convergence as a measure of territorial cohesion. In: Science in support of European Territorial Development and Cohesion. Luxembourg : [s.n.], 2013. p. 32–37.
Main files (1)
Book chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:36873

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