copy the linklink copied!Chapter 3. Well-being indicators for regional development

This chapter looks at how well-being indicators can be used to improve regional development in the province of Córdoba. In particular, it presents policy recommendations in three key areas of action: i) ensure that well-being indicators guide future decision-making, ii) continue strengthening and modernising the provincial statistical system to expand the evidence-base and, iii) strengthen governance arrangements for more effective, efficient and inclusive regional development policy outcomes.


copy the linklink copied!Introduction: Well-being in the Córdoba agglomerations

The analysis in Chapter 2 provides an overview of the performance of Córdoba’s four agglomerations (Gran Córdoba, Río Cuarto-Las Higueras, Villa María-Villa Nueva and San Francisco) with regards to 30 indicators corresponding to 12 different well-being dimensions (Table 3.1). The agglomerations’ performance was also assessed through a comparison with the 391 regions of the 36 OECD countries and 98 regions of Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Costa Rica. The analysis also looked at the differences between the four agglomerations for each well-being dimension. The following sections briefly summarise the detailed analysis in Chapter 2.

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Table 3.1. Well-being indicator values for the Córdoba agglomerations



Córdoba agglomerations

Gran Córdoba

Río Cuarto-Las Higueras

Villa María-Villa Nueva

San Francisco


Household gross income*






Exclusion rate based on income*






Gini index of income*






Income quintile share ratio (S80/S20)






Gender gap in household gross income







Rooms per person*






Dwellings without basic facilities**






Housing expenditure






Home ownership







Employment rate*






Unemployment rate*






Long-term unemployment rate*






Youth unemployment rate*






Informal employment rate






Gender gap in employment rate*






Gender gap in unemployment rate*






Gender gap in long-term unemployment rate


Gender gap in youth unemployment rate



Educational attainment of adults**






Educational attainment of the labour force*






Gender gap in educational attainment of adults**






Gender gap in educational attainment of the labour force






Work-life balance

Employees working very long hours**






Travel to work






Time spent travelling to work






Private transport for travel to work






Public transport for travel to work







Life expectancy at birth*






Infant mortality rate*






Perceived health**






Gender gap in perceived health**






Gender gap in life expectancy at birth







Air pollution*


Personal security

Homicide rate*






Civic engagement and governance

Voter turnout*












Access to services

Households with internet access*






Community and social support

Social support network*






Life satisfaction

Life satisfaction*






* Available for most OECD regions and countries.

** Only available for OECD country averages (in this report).

Note: The gender gaps refer to the simple difference between the indicator for women and the indicator for men, with the exception of the indicators of employment rate and perceived health, where they refer to the differences between the indicator for men and the indicator for women.

Strengths and challenges of the Córdoba agglomerations

The Córdoba agglomerations obtained very good scores compared to the OECD’s TL2 regions in community and social support and life satisfaction:

  • Community and social support: With 97% of the survey population believing they can turn to a friend or relative in case of need, the agglomerations rank in the top 5 of OECD regions and first in the Latin American regions in this well-being dimension.

  • Life satisfaction: The average life satisfaction score in the Córdoba agglomerations is 7.5 (on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is the highest level of satisfaction) – above the OECD average (6.7) and higher than 84% (324 out of 385) of regions. This level is very similar to the average in Switzerland and the Netherlands; compared with Latin American countries, only ten regions in Mexico and Aysén in Chile have higher life satisfaction scores than the Córdoba agglomerations

For the other dimensions, such as jobs, education, and civic engagement and governance, scores were similar to those in other OECD regions:

  • Jobs: Performance in the jobs dimension is very similar to that of the OECD and of Latin American countries, although there is a gender gap. Employment and unemployment rates (total, long term and youth) in the agglomerations are very close to the average for the TL2 regions. The gender gap in the employment rate in the Córdoba agglomerations is 23.5 percentage points, which is 10 percentage points above the OECD average. Only some regions of Greece, Italy, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Colombia and most of the regions of Mexico and Turkey have a larger employment gender gap than the Córdoba agglomerations.

  • Education: The agglomerations slightly underperform compared with the OECD average, although their score is actually high in comparison with Latin American countries. The Córdoba agglomerations’ score for adult educational attainment is higher than the country average for Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico. Equally, educational attainment of the labour force in Córdoba ranks in the top 1% of regions in Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico (only slightly below the Chilean region of Antofagasta).

  • Civic engagement and governance: There are high levels of civic engagement through voting in the Córdoba agglomerations – 78% voter turnout, higher than that of 75% of the OECD’s regions. However, the volunteering indicator reveals that only 12% of 18-64 year-olds are involved in volunteering activities (e.g. with charities, NGOs, trade unions, school councils, etc.). This level of engagement is below the country average for Chile (by almost 5 percentage points) but higher than the country average for Mexico (by around 6.5 percentage points).

In income, housing, personal security, work-life balance, access to services, and the environment, the Córdoba agglomerations are below the OECD average:

  • Income: Below the OECD average but above the average for Latin American peers. Average annual household income in the Córdoba agglomerations for 2018 was of USD 12 756 PPP (at 2010 prices), equivalent to 80% of the OECD average, and lower than in 60% (191 out of 319) of OECD regions. In the Latin American context, however, the Córdoba agglomerations is above the levels displayed by all the regions of Mexico and Chile. Moreover, the Córdoba agglomerations has low levels of relative monetary exclusion. Whereas, on average, OECD regions display around one third of their population living with incomes below the relative exclusion line (60% of the median regional income), in the Córdoba agglomerations only 23.76% of the population is living below that line. The agglomerations perform better in this indicator than 87% (268 out of 307) of OECD regions.

  • Housing: Housing space measured in terms of rooms per person is smaller than 76% (316 out of 413) of observed regions (Córdoba: 1.36; OECD average: 1.8). The average number of rooms in the Córdoba agglomerations is very similar to the country average of Turkey and higher than in all the regions of Hungary, Israel, Estonia, Mexico, the Slovak Republic and Poland. Moreover, the percentage of the population living in dwellings without private indoor flushing toilets connected to sewer lines or septic tank is 9.2% in the Córdoba agglomerations versus 2.1% in the OECD countries.

  • Personal security: the homicide rate in the Córdoba agglomerations is 3.56 per 100 000 inhabitants; this rate is very similar to the average in Germany and higher than in 296 out of 391 OECD regions. Nevertheless, the homicide rate in the Córdoba agglomerations is one of the lowest compared to regions in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, with only 3 Latin American regions (out of 105) having a lower rate.

  • Work-life balance: In the Córdoba agglomerations 16% of workers work 50 hours or more a week, around 4 percentage points above the OECD average. However, it is worth noting that the shares of employees working long hours are higher in all Mexican regions than those observed in Córdoba, with the exception of Jalisco, which performs similarly to the Córdoba agglomerations.

  • Access to services: Around 68% of households in the Córdoba agglomerations have internet access, 6 percentage points below the OECD average of 74%. Around three-quarters (288 out of 387) of the OECD regions have higher percentage of households with internet access. However, Brazil, Chile and Mexico have a lower level of internet access on average than Córdoba agglomerations.

  • Environment: the province of Córdoba is facing an average exposure to PM2.5 of 15.2 μg/m3 – above the limits established by the WHO. This level is slightly above the OECD average (13 μg/m3) and the average for Argentina (14.2 μg/m3), and is the median value of the 23 Argentinian provinces and the city of Buenos Aires (ranked 12 out of 24).

Disparities in well-being between Córdoba agglomerations

The analysis of the results of the well-being indicators by agglomeration and by well-being dimension reveals differences between agglomerations in both material conditions and quality of life.

Material living conditions

The differences in annual household gross income between agglomerations are relatively small (only 9%), although measures of income distribution vary greatly across agglomerations. Indicators of relative monetary exclusion (24.15%), the Gini index (0.37) and the quintile share ratio (7.09) show that Gran Córdoba is the agglomeration with the highest challenges in terms of economic equality, while Río Cuarto-Las Higueras is the agglomeration with the best performance in terms of relative monetary exclusion (21.48%), the Gini index (0.34) and the quintile share ratio (5.66).

Major inequalities are observed between the Córdoba agglomerations, mainly in the dwellings without basic facilities indicator, although differences are also observed in other housing indicators. Whereas in Río Cuarto-Las Higueras only 2% of people lives in dwellings without access to a private indoor flushing toilet connected to sewer lines or to a septic tank (similar to the OECD average), in San Francisco this figure amounts to 11.4% (mainly due to the existence of numerous dwellings that are not connected to sewer lines or to a septic tank). On the other hand, San Francisco is the best performing agglomeration in terms of housing space, home ownership and housing expenditure.

Major disparities between agglomerations are observed in labour market access for women, youth unemployment and the informality rate. Whereas in San Francisco and Río Cuarto-Las Higueras the unemployment gender gap is close to zero, in Gran Córdoba the unemployment rate is 4.7 percentage points higher for women than for men. With regards to youth unemployment, Villa María-Villa Nueva shows rates close to 11%, whereas Gran Córdoba has rates of 27%. On the other hand, Villa María-Villa Nueva is the agglomeration that performs worst in informality, with around 40% of its employees lacking any sort of pension plan, 10 percentage points higher than in Gran Córdoba – the agglomeration with the best score for this indicator.

Quality of life

Within the province, there are some differences in work-life balance between agglomerations. While only 15.5% of workers in Gran Córdoba say they work long hours, this figure rises to 21.92% in Villa María-Villa Nueva. Furthermore, 39% of Gran Córdoba’s inhabitants take over 30 minutes to get to their main place of work compared to just 4% of San Francisco’s inhabitants.

There are also differences between agglomerations in health and access to internet indicators. While the infant mortality rate is 7.6 in San Francisco, it rises to 9.4 in Villa María-Villa Nueva. The difference between the agglomerations with the highest and lowest perceived health scores is 9 percentage points (between Río Cuarto-Las Higueras and Villa María-Villa Nueva). Lastly, in some cases the perceived health gender gap in the agglomerations varies considerably. Although men tend to consider themselves healthier than women, there are some variations across agglomerations. For example, the gender gap in perceived health in San Francisco is close to the 5.5 percentage points (more similar levels of perceived health between men and women), whereas this gender gap is significantly positive and close to 9 percentage points in Villa María-Villa Nueva (men clearly self-report better health than women do). Access to technology varies significantly across the Córdoba agglomerations. While 71% of households in San Francisco have internet access, the number decreases to 67% of homes in Río Cuarto-Las Higueras.

In the civic engagement and governance dimension, scores for the volunteering indicator differ between agglomerations. It can be seen that volunteering falls as agglomeration population size increases, with Gran Córdoba showing the lowest level of volunteering (10%), while San Francisco and Villa María-Villa Nueva have rates of around 20%.

Priority areas for enhancing well-being

The comparison of Cordoba’s agglomerations’ well-being performance versus that of the OECD regions highlights several challenges that are shared by all the agglomerations, primarily in the areas of income, housing, personal security, work-life balance and internet access. While the agglomerations rank among the best regions in terms of inequalities, household gross income is below average. Living space, housing quality and accessibility to housing (rental costs) are also shared challenges. With regard to personal security, while there is no crisis of violence like in other Latin American countries, levels of violence are still high compared to most OECD regions. In addition, many workers work long hours and internet access in the agglomerations is over ten percentage points below the OECD average.

There are differences across agglomerations in well-being outcomes in areas such as income distribution, housing, jobs, work-life balance, health, internet access and civic engagement and governance. For instance, in work-life balance while 15.5% of workers in Gran Córdoba work long hours, this figure rises to 21.92% in Villa María-Villa Nueva.

There are three areas of action in which the province should focus to improve well-being outcomes:

  • First, ensure that well-being indicators guide future decision-making. In light of the agglomerations’ performance, the primary objective should be to mainstream the well-being metrics across all levels of government, notably at the provincial level, to inform and guide decision-making. Well-being indicators can indeed help the provincial administration set regional development objectives that are measurable, define multidimensional well-being indicators to manage complementarities across policies, redesign public investment priorities, and link existing social programmes with well-being outcomes.

  • Second, continue strengthening and modernising the provincial statistical system to expand the evidence-base. The 2018 Well-being Survey is a major source of new data for the four agglomerations in the province of Córdoba. Moving forward, the Well-being Survey could expand its geographical scope to secondary cities and rural areas through alternative and less costly methods. For instance, the use of administrative registers has great potential to expand the availability of data for selected well-being dimensions, while the ongoing open data agenda can enhance trust in and accountability of the provincial government.

  • Third, strengthen governance arrangements for more effective, efficient and inclusive regional development policy outcomes through: building a single register of beneficiaries of social programmes to boost the operational implementation of social programmes; increasing cooperation between the provincial and municipal level by promoting the establishment of an association of local authorities that integrates the presidents of regional communities; fostering inter-municipal cooperation to achieve economies of scale that ensure services are delivered more efficiently; and, ensuring the continuity of the well-being framework across political cycles.

copy the linklink copied!Use of well-being indicators to strengthen Córdoba’s regional sustainable development strategy

Using the well-being framework to boost regional development has a number of benefits. The latter include: understanding well-being dimensions and their interactions; providing an overview of well-being performance in a city or region and identifying differences between places; fostering dialogue between ministries that can help eliminate silos and seek complementarities in policies; measuring performance in terms of impact of policies and programmes on people well-being outcomes; and, encouraging discussions on policy objectives that are not fulfilled.

However, the challenge is to ensure that well-being indicators are used in decision-making. A regional development strategy linked to well-being indicators can help ministries design integral policies, i.e. policies that take into account complementarities between well-being dimensions, and that cascade to sector-specific projects and programmes. It can also help establish monitoring and evaluation practices. Lastly, it boosts accountability, as the achievement of goals can be assessed annually.

To strengthen its regional development strategy the province of Córdoba should pursue four core actions:

  1. 1. Pursue further the efforts to link regional development goals to well-being metrics, in order to monitor and evaluate public action. In Córdoba, the government’s three key policy areas of social justice, sustainable economic growth and strengthening institutions are well-defined, and well-being indicators could help monitor whether the government is achieving its targets.

  2. 2. Use interdimensional indicators to manage the complementarities between well-being policy areas. The complementarities between well-being dimensions can be measured, at least partially, using interdimensional indicators looking at two well-being dimensions side-by-side by measuring specific outcomes by social group or individuals that share a similar result in another dimension. One example of this would be the percentage of people with low incomes reporting that they are in poor health. These indicators can be used to set common goals for ministries that have complementary well-being dimensions and to assess the impact on the province’s performance.

  3. 3. Advance in monitoring how provincial social programmes contribute to well-being outcomes and help achieve goals set in the regional development strategy. Well-being programmes are currently thought of as contributing to one, or various, of the government’s three key priority areas: social justice, sustainable economic growth and strengthening institutions. However, there could be wider efforts to concretely monitor how social programmes contribute to well-being outcomes.

  4. 4. Consider using well-being multidimensional criteria to allocate public funds. There are several provincial funds dedicated to boost regional development at municipality level. These investments could be more targeted by using rules based on multidimensional well-being criteria.

Linking the well-being indicators with regional development goals


OECD (2016a) highlighted that the province did not have a formal, outcome-based development strategy. The lack of formal strategic planning was one of the top challenges identified for the province, as it has a knock-on effect, making it more difficult to measure, monitor and assess policy and programme outcomes.

The province launched a process in 2016 to define a regional development strategy. The province is using the SDGs as a framework for its regional development strategy. The latter implies defining concrete goals for the province of Córdoba, and determining which social programmes contribute to achieving which goals. The province publishes annually this information in the Government Performance Report (Memoria de Gobierno). The province of Córdoba has three key axes that are described in the Government Performance Report: i) social justice, ii) sustainable economic growth, iii) institutional strengthening. The provincial government stresses in the Government Performance Reports of 2016, 2017 and 2018 that sustainability is a key principle guiding the actions of the government, which aim to build a “sustainable state” enabling all the inhabitants of the province to enjoy a better quality of life.

Areas for improvement

The assessment of Córdoba agglomerations’ well-being outcomes shows gaps in some dimensions that should inspire long-term goals of the regional development strategy. The most pressing challenges are in income, housing, personal security, work-life balance and access to services, where there are significant differences compared to OECD regions. The province of Córdoba could use well-being indicators to set clear regional development objectives based on its three key policy areas (social justice, sustainable economic growth, and institutional strengthening). These objectives should be incorporated into a medium- to long-term regional development strategy (5-10 years).

The OECD well-being framework can be used to achieve policy goals, such as those set out in the 2030 Agenda. The province has already conceptually linked provincial government’s actions and the 2030 Agenda. In 2017, the Government Performance Report for Córdoba aligned for the first time the 17 SDGs and the government’s strategic policy areas (Table 3.2). The current objective of the province of Córdoba is to follow a coherent path that links the well-being framework to the SDGs with the ultimate objective of promoting social inclusion in the province. For this reason, the province decided to prioritise the social SDGs – i.e. SDGs from 1 to 5 plus 10 – and analyse how the other economic and environmental SDGs impact social inclusion. This is also coherent with the three axes of the government, where sustainable economic development and institutional strengthening support the social justice pillar.

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Table 3.2. Regional development priorities and the SDGs

Development priority


Related SDGs

OECD well-being dimensions

Social justice

Essential aspect of the provincial management approach on which many of the government’s public policies are based. The initiatives, programmes and plans included in this priority area are people focused, concentrating especially on helping families in Córdoba to achieve their full potential with dignity and equal opportunities.

Family / People

SDG 1: No poverty

SDG 2: Zero hunger

SDG 3: Good health and well-being

SDG 4: Quality education

SDG 5: Gender equality

SDG 10: Reduced inequalities





Personal security

Life satisfaction

Sustainable economic growth

Means to furthering the development and well-being of every person in Córdoba. The focus is on initiatives, programmes and plans designed to increase prosperity while caring for the environment. This is being achieved by strengthening infrastructure to enable productive and responsible development, underpinned by innovation and accompanied by the creation of decent jobs. Environment-friendly development that promotes the use of clean and renewable energies.


SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation

SDG 12: Responsible production and consumption

SDG 13: Climate action

SDG 15: Life on land


SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities


Access to services


Work-life balance

Institutional Strengthening

Creates the conditions needed to boost the impact of the government’s work and improve public institutions. This policy aim is behind all the initiatives, programmes and plans that forge partnerships and promote peace to build open, robust, dynamic and intelligent institutions that can identify people’s needs as quickly as possible and in the best way.

Partnerships and peace

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

Civic engagement and governance and social support

Source: Adapted from the Córdoba Provincial Government (2017), Government Performance Report 2017 (Memoria de Gestión 2017), (accessed in July 2018).


Continue the current efforts to develop a medium- to long-term regional strategy based on measurable objectives, using the well-being indicators and aligned with the SDGs. The assessment of well-being outcomes in the four agglomerations of the province of Córdoba should be used to set realistic and achievable objectives. It can also help design policies and programmes to achieve those objectives, and prioritise them according to the agglomerations’ results. The strategy should follow a place-based approach by taking into account the existing differences in well-being outcomes across agglomerations.

The Government Performance Report could be used to monitor the progress in implementing the strategy (it is a certified by the Global Reporting Initiative).1 Other regions have similar experiences using well-being indicators to monitor the achievement of strategic objectives. In the state of Morelos (Mexico), the government uses well-being indicators to assess progress towards reaching the goals set in its State Development Plan. The Region of Southern Denmark monitors citizens well-being using a set of socioeconomic and perception indicators (Box 3.1).

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Box 3.1. Examples of linking regional development with well-being indicators

In the state of Morelos, 10 social well-being indicators were introduced to assess annual progress in implementing the State Development Plan 2013-2018. A baseline was established for each indicator and progress is evaluated at least once a year. The office of the State Government’s Deputy Secretary for Planning prepared annual progress reports on the fulfilment of the goals of the State Development Plan. The reports include progress traffic lights that help determine if the degree of progress is as expected (based on a straight-line projection of progress made in achieving the goal). For example, if 50% of a six-year goal has been achieved in year 3, this means 100% of the goal for that year has been reached because progress is as planned. A green light is used for annual progress above 85%, an amber light is used if progress is between 60% and 85%, and a red light indicates less than 60%. These results are presented at cabinet meetings and shared with the technical planning areas of each secretariat. The latter helps ensure this information is used to make improvements to existing public programmes designed to achieve the goals.

The Region of Southern Denmark has devised a complete set of well-being indicators looking at personal and regional factors that improve people’s well-being. The primary aim is to create the right environment for a “decent life”, and focus on issues that people find the most important and where outcomes can be achieved through public policy. Underpinning the long-term regional development and growth strategy for Southern Denmark, the region assesses opportunities to live a “decent life”, measuring a wide variety of material living and quality of life conditions through 15 socioeconomic indicators and 25 perception indicators. The regional statistical yearbook, Kontur, comprises well-being indicators that provide a detailed profile of each of the 22 municipalities in the region. Working with the National Office of Denmark, the region draws on the results of 20 000 surveys (around 1 000 per municipality) to determine what helps improve its inhabitants’ lives. The region has not just identified suitable indicators but is also working to encourage citizen engagement and translate indicator scores into tangible policy measures.

Sources: Contribution of peer reviewer from the state of Morelos; OECD (2016b), Well-being in Danish Cities,

Managing complementarities between different well-being dimensions


The regional well-being framework can help coordinate and enhance complementarities across well-being policies. Examining well-being from a subnational perspective can help understand and benefit from complementarities between well-being dimensions, since the relationship between citizens and decision makers is closer. For instance, in Córdoba access to public services such as transport is closely related with the work-life balance dimension – an efficient public transport service reduces traffic and therefore commuting times. Another area where there are significant complementarities concerns environmental policy, which is linked with practically all the other policy areas (economic development, health, transport, etc.).

Areas for improvement

Complementarities between well-being dimensions can be measured, at least partially, using interdimensional indicators. Interdimensional indicators are the combination of two well-being dimensions, where the first is measured relative to the distribution of the second. The main benefit of these metrics is to monitor complementarities between policies and well-being dimensions, as well as to track specific issues or groups of people. For example, the percentage of households that spend 30% or more of their income in electricity allows to explore the complementarities between income and the environmental dimension (electricity consumption). The underlying assumption could be that household income may affect electricity consumption (e.g. a richer household can afford greener and more expensive technologies, etc.).

Interdimensional indicators are a useful tool for designing and monitoring a regional development strategy, for several reasons:

  • They can be used to set common goals for different ministries with complementary policy areas and, in doing so, encourage dialogue and coordination between them. They also provide evidence of the impact of policies implemented by one ministry can have on overall performance vis-à-vis a particular indicator.

  • When calculated over a time series, these indicators can provide an approximate metric of how policies in different well-being dimensions may have complemented each other, and what impact they have had on the province’s performance.


The province could develop interdimensional indicators that provide further information in those well-being areas where it faces the greatest challenges. The analysis presented in Chapter 2 shows that income, gender inequality in some areas such as jobs and household gross income, housing, or work-life balance are well-being dimensions in which the province underperforms relative to the OECD average. New metrics could be added to the 30 well-being indicators that are already calculated in the multidimensional framework used for the Córdoba agglomerations. These metrics should focus in assessing policies or programmes that may have an impact on various well-being dimensions. Table 3.3 provides a short list of interdimensional well-being indicators that could be of interest for the province.

Any proposal of interdimensional indicators for Córdoba must be tailored to the province’s regional development priorities and the needs of stakeholders in the province. The government of Córdoba could launch a consultation involving ministries, agencies, groups of civil servants (e.g. medical, teachers, or social workers associations) and non-profit organisations, to define which interdimensional indicators could contribute to better understand critical relationships among certain well-being dimensions. For instance, representatives from the economic, health and education sectors could be consulted to unravel the causes and effects of low-income households on children’s health and education outcomes.

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Table 3.3. Examples of interdimensional well-being indicators


Well-being dimensions

Income of employees working very long hours

Income, work-life balance

Female unemployment and educational attainment

Jobs, education

Hours devoted to leisure, recreational activities and family

Work-life balance, life satisfaction

Cognitive skills of the labour force

Education, jobs

Public transport connections

Access to services, environment, work-life balance

Linking social programmes to well-being indicators


The Government Performance Report is currently used to outline governmental priorities and monitor progress of social programmes implemented in the province. The report includes a “fact sheet” for each programme providing details of: programme’s contribution to the priority area (social justice, sustainable economic growth, strengthening institutions), competent authority in the provincial government, beneficiaries, allocated resources, and products and services delivered.

Areas for improvement

For the moment, the results of the programmes presented in the Government Performance Report cannot be used to assess impact. The indicators used are related to “allocated resources”, “performance” and sometimes “outcomes”. These indicators are useful to increase the transparency and accountability of the provincial government; however, they do not provide an insight into whether or not a programme is having an impact on people’s well-being or contributing to achieve the government’s objectives.


The province of Córdoba could monitor how social programmes are contributing to well-being outcomes. For instance, the state of Morelos (Mexico) created a Monitoring and Evaluation System, coordinated by the Social Development Evaluation Commission (COEVAL). This public platform includes the Social Programme Catalogue (CEPS) providing the following information for 52 social programmes: diagnosis, outcome indicators, beneficiaries profile, programme assessments and recommendations to improve the programmes.

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Table 3.4. Types of indicator for monitoring policies and programmes

Type of indicator


Examples from the Performance Report

Allocated resources

Allocated resources indicators are used to measure the amount of resources allocated to a policy or programme. These input indicators may provide evidence of the efforts made to implement a policy or programme. Allocated resources indicators are only used in monitoring to provide information on the extent to which a policy is being carried out.

Salas Cuna child care programme: Total number of food packages, total number of nappies, number of carers

PAICOR integrated welfare programme: Number of collaborators, monthly handouts

End-to-end gas infrastructure programme: N.A. (no indicator in the report)


Performance indicators monitor how efficiently policies are being executed. The performance indicators measure the quantities produced by a policy in achieving its objectives, but do not provide information on whether objectives are being fulfilled.

Salas Cuna child care programme: Number of care worker visits per month

PAICOR integrated welfare programme: Number of meals per day

End-to-end gas network programme: Kilometres of gas pipeline laid


Outcomes indicators are used to monitor how effective policies and programmes are at fulfilling their objectives. They provide insight into whether the policies are well designed vis-à-vis their goals. Outcomes are the fundamental reason behind a policy but in most cases, they are only determined by the output of products.

Salas Cuna child care programme: Women able to go to work or finish their education

PAICOR integrated welfare programme: Children and young people who receive decent and nutritious meals at school

End-to-end gas network programme: Córdoba population connected to the gas network

Sources: Schumann, A. (2016), “Using Outcome Indicators to Improve Policies: Methods, Design Strategies and Implementation”,; Córdoba Provincial Government (2017), Government Performance Report 2017 (Memoria de Gestión 2017), (accessed in July 2018).

Setting priorities for public investment with well-being indicators


In Córdoba, the General Secretariat of Government has led the development of the regional well-being framework, which will require engaging with other counterparts in the government to shape budgetary priorities. While strong connections with the budget design process may boost the impact of well-being frameworks, not all governments implement their well-being frameworks within the auspices of their ministries of finance. Thus, it is essential to build close relationships with the departments that take decisions in terms of budget allocation (Carnegie UK Trust, 2016).

Córdoba’s governmental structure can favour the link between policy decisions and well-being metrics. The DGEyC (provincial statistical department) reports to the General Secretariat of Government. The Secretariat provides advice to the Governor with regards to public management decisions. This role in the provincial government can help the Secretariat bridge the gap between the production of data and statistics and the decision-making processes.

Areas for improvement

An option to encourage dialogue between decision makers and statisticians would be to use well-being indicators for budget allocation. The provincial government could review the operating rules of the main regional development funds allocating resources to municipalities to incorporate well-being criteria (Table 3.5). For example, the Urban Development Fund, Permanent Fund or Supplementary Infrastructure Works Fund for Municipalities, Communes and Regional Communities (FOCOM) could prioritise projects that have a major impact in one or several well-being dimensions in which an agglomeration or municipality is performing poorly.

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Table 3.5. Provincial regional development funds operated by Córdoba’s municipalities

Fund name

Description of activities

Urban Development Fund

Construction of basic infrastructures such as curbing, pavements, gas, sewage and water networks, lighting and drains, etc. In 2017, 83% (215) of municipalities and 74% (93) of communes were carrying out public works projects.

Permanent Fund

Funding of local government projects and programmes in the province of Córdoba. In 2017, 270 municipalities and communes submitted projects, with a total budget of $155 159 500 (Argentine peso)

Supplementary Infrastructure Works Fund for Municipalities, Communes and Regional Communities (FOCOM)

Funding works outside the remit of the municipalities and communes. In 2017, 225 agreements were signed for a total of $165 522 535.72.

Source: Background report based on OECD Questionnaire, prepared and sent by provincial authorities on November 2017.


Operating rules could only incorporate well-being indicators when deciding projects in the four agglomerations. At present, the Well-Being Survey only provides data to compute well-being indicators in Gran Córdoba, Río Cuarto-Las Higueras, San Francisco and Villa María-Villa Nueva. Resources from regional development funds transferred to these municipalities could be allocated according to the foreseen impacts in well-being indicators.

However, there are other options that could be considered for the municipalities that are currently not covered by the well-being indicators. Multidimensional well-being criteria could be incorporated using alternative sources, such as the census, the Basic Unmet Needs (NBI) (which covers some of the OECD regional well-being dimensions) or other municipal surveys. As mentioned in Chapter 1, the last census was conducted in 2010, but the new census to be published in 2020 provides a good opportunity to update a number of indicators that are outdated.

In Latin America, some countries are trying to link their public investment decisions (especially concerning infrastructure) to multidimensional well-being criteria. In Chile, the Local Initiative Regional Fund (FRIL) allocates resources to projects that consider infrastructure development as a means to enhancing well-being from a multidimensional perspective. In Mexico, the operating rules of the Social Infrastructure Contributions Fund (FAIS) – a federal fund created by the states and municipalities to improve infrastructure in highly or very highly marginalised parts of the country – changed after the results of the multidimensional poverty index (published every two years) showed insufficient progress (Box 3.2).

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Box 3.2. Public funds and well-being indicators in Latin America

Local Initiative Regional Fund (Chile)

The Local Initiative Regional Fund (FRIL) was established in the region of Valparaíso (Chile) in 2008 to allocate central government funding. This regional investment instrument channels funds from the Regional Development National Fund, and was included in the Public Sector Budget Act to invest in “minor” public infrastructure projects (with total project costs of less than 2 000 monthly tax units [UTMs]). In order to tap into these funds, municipalities must submit their projects, which are evaluated through a procedure established by the regional government of Valparaíso.

The aim of the FRIL is to finance public infrastructure projects that improve the quality of life of the poorest cohorts of the commune’s population (in both rural and urban areas). Those projects should also explicitly mainstream civic engagement and gender inequality. The FRIL’s work gravitates around four areas: basic public services, urban roads, and community facilities. The FRIL allocates resources to projects that consider infrastructure development as a means to enhancing well-being from a multidimensional perspective. Between 2009 and 2015, projects funded by the FRIL have focused on sectors such as education, sport and leisure, and community organisations.

Social Infrastructure Contributions Fund (Mexico)

In 2015, the operating rules of the Social Infrastructure Contributions Fund (FAIS) changed to prioritise investments in infrastructure that have a direct impact on social unmet needs indicators and contribute to reducing poverty. These new rules imposed a cap of 30% for investments in projects with a complementary effect, such as paving and roads, which were previously one of the priority areas for municipalities.

The change in operating rules helped better align national and state strategies. The programme’s operating rules imposed an obligation on the state and municipalities to use the multidimensional poverty index to allocate funds and imposed caps on investments that did not directly contribute to reducing poverty. The national government also offered training to help municipalities understand the new operating rules, and held meetings to raise awareness of the importance of investing in projects contributing to decrease poverty. The FAIS also incorporated a financial incentive to prioritise investments in basic drinking water supply and sanitation infrastructure. This incentive involved match funding – the national government invested an additional peso for every peso invested by municipalities. The latter reduced investments in road paving from 53% to 8% of total investments between 2015 and 2017. It also reversed the historical trend of low investment in water infrastructure, boosting it from 26% to 63% of total investments.

Sources: OECD (2017), Making Decentralisation Work in Chile,; OECD (2013), OECD Territorial Reviews: Antofagasta, Chile 2013,; Santiago Metropolitan Regional Government, Instrumentos de Inversión Regional [Regional Investment Instruments], (accessed on 26 August 2018); Tarapaca Regional Government (2018), Gestión de Gobierno [Government Management], (accessed on 26 August 2018).

copy the linklink copied!Advancing the statistical agenda

The statistical agencies of OECD countries are modernising. Much of this stems from the untapped opportunities offered by digitalisation and new technological developments that have led to a plethora of new data sources and statistical methods to complement existing official statistics. In addition to these changes, there is a growing demand at all levels of government to increase the evidence base for policy design and implementation. Nevertheless, modernising statistical systems takes a long time and does not involve just generating information, but also engaging in new partnerships with other public and private actors as well as local and international organisations, working through new organisational structures within statistical agencies, and disseminating data to users in a different way.

In line with this global trend and following the policy recommendations from OECD (2016a), the province of Córdoba has launched a series of initiatives to strengthen and modernise its statistical infrastructure. These include:

  • A new “Open Data” statistical portal: the DGEyC launched a new statistical portal in 2017 that aims to increase accessibility to data in a more user-friendly format. The portal provides data visualisations, statistical publications and open data in CKAN format (the world-leading open source data management system).

  • Partnerships between the DGEyC and other public institutions: Secretary for Equity and Employment Promotion and the DGEyC worked together to prepare a Social Priority Index (IPS) that helps identify geographical areas with high priority for public action due to the living conditions of the population. The DGEyC has developed a Spatial Data Registry together with the ministries of Education, Environment, Water Resources, mining and Agriculture. Lastly, the DGEyC provided support to the Police Crime Analysis Unit to analyse geospatial crime statistics from 2016. This ICT tool includes a platform that can cross social and crime databases.

  • Production of new economic indicators: some examples include the Consumer Price Index, which measures changes in the prices of a basket of goods and services of urban households residing in the City of Córdoba; and the Indexes of Goods and Services, and Public Works, which are used to renegotiate public contracts with private companies.

  • Well-being Survey and using ICTs in statistical processes: the government of Córdoba has developed the Well-Being survey based on the Permanent Household Survey (EPH) of Argentina’s Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC), but including new questions to be able to compute OECD’s well-being indicators. The survey provides well-being data at agglomeration level for Gran Córdoba, Río Cuarto-Las Higueras, San Francisco and Villa María-Villa Nueva. Paper surveys have been replaced by a tablet app.

The province of Córdoba’s statistical infrastructure has experienced a significant improvement with the implementation of the Well-being Survey. The province had an overriding need for new and updated data in a number of well-being dimensions such as: work-life balance, health, civic engagement and governance, community and social support, life satisfaction and access to services.

Although traditional surveys will continue to be a key part of the statistical systems of countries and regions, the most innovative statistical offices are becoming increasingly aware of the need to explore new ways of generating data and statistics. To improve well-being metrics at local and regional level, the province of Córdoba – along with regions in other OECD countries – will have to mobilise a variety of data sources and methodologies. These include making better use of administrative records, incorporating geographical information systems (GIS) and exploring the use of microdata.

Four actions could be pursued by the provincial government to be at the cutting edge of regional statistics: i) widen the geographical scope of the Well-being Survey by gathering data for small and medium-sized cities (through lest costly methodologies) and identifying functional urban areas (FUAs); ii) using data from administrative records to produce evidence on the links between social programmes and socioeconomic outcomes; iii) further expand the open data policy; and iv) increase the use of satellite images to produce official statistics.

Expanding the Well-being Survey


The 2018 Well-being Survey covers approximately 55% of total provincial population. As in the rest of Argentina, Córdoba is an urbanised province with a large share of the population living in a small area of its territory (Box 3.3). Indeed, the four agglomerations (Gran Córdoba, Río Cuarto-Las Higueras, Villa María-Villa Nueva and San Francisco) in which the Well-being Survey is conducted are home to around 2 million people, although the four together only cover 1% of provincial area.

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Box 3.3. Degree of urbanisation of Córdoba

The (2016) Territorial Review for Córdoba looked at the degree of urbanisation across the province using data from the 2010 census. It was found that the province of Córdoba has a high degree of urban concentration, with the majority of the province’s population living in just a few departments. The urban-rural split of the province of Córdoba’s population is very similar to the national average (91%), with approximately 87% of its people living in urban areas. Gran Córdoba, in the department of Capital, is home to around 40% of the province’s population, and along with five other departments (Río Cuarto, Punilla, San Justo, Colón and General San Martín) has close to 70% of the population. The remaining 20 departments in the province are home to 30% of the province’s people, while the four smallest departments (Sobremonte, Minas, Pocho and Río Seco) account for less than 1% of the province’s population. The most populated departments also have the greatest shares of city-dwellers. Ten out of the 26 departments are home to upwards of 80% of the province’s urban population (Capital, Río Cuarto, Punilla, Colón, San Justo, General San Martín, Tercero Arriba, Marcos Juárez, Unión and Río Segundo). Although most of the departments are predominately urban, six have most of their populations living in the countryside: Minas and Pocho, which are completely rural, and Tulumba, Totoral, Sobremonte and Río Seco (over 50% of the population living in rural areas).

Source: OECD (2016a), OECD Territorial Reviews: Córdoba, Argentina

OECD (2016a) showcased the differences in well-being between urban and rural areas in the province of Córdoba. Based on 2010 census data, the percentage of the population not completing their primary education in the departments of Capital and Punilla was less than 10%, in contrast to above 30% in Sobremonte, Tulumba and Río Seco. There are also large differences in the quality of transport connections. In 2009, only 8% and 25% of secondary roads were unpaved in the departments of Capital and San Javier, respectively, whereas 75% of secondary roads were unpaved in Sobremonte, Pocho and Minas. Low quality infrastructure can affect connectivity and hamper access to services. There were also notable differences in households’ access to drinking water. While less than 75% of households in the departments of General Roca, Pr. Roque Sáenz Peña, Juárez Celman and Sobremonte were connected to drinking water supply services, over 95% of households in Capital, Punilla and General San Martín were connected to the service.

Areas for improvement

Although there are differences in well-being outcomes between urban and rural areas, expanding the Well-being Survey to the entire province might not be the most efficient approach. Expanding the survey to cover all municipalities would have a significant cost due to the large number of municipalities and communes (427 in total). The provincial government has already invested a considerable amount of monetary and human resources to cover four agglomerations in the survey. An even greater effort would be needed to widen the scope of the survey to cover the rest of the province.

Following a gradual approach would be more adequate to expand the geographical coverage of the Well-being Indicators. The province should follow a “value for money” logic by exploring alternative methodologies to compute well-being indicators in small and medium municipalities. While achieving representative sample for secondary cities and rural areas would be useful to guide regional development policies, the cost of expanding the Well-being Survey would be very high. However, exploring alternative methodologies (polls or short surveys, administrative registries, big data, satellite, etc.) to compute well-being indicators in small and medium-sized cities is a pressing need given that they are home to approximately 35% of the province’s population. This could start by expanding to five provincial departments (Río Cuarto, Punilla, San Justo, Colón and General San Martín), which, along with Capital, are home to around 70% of the population. Next, the small and medium municipalities that best represent the remaining 20% of urban population. A final could be to expand to the dispersed rural population (approximately 10% of total population).


Expanding the scope of the Well-being Survey to all provincial urban areas would allow for:

  • Exploring the regional development potential of small and medium cities. Well-being metrics could help analyse whether these cities have the amenities to attract human capital. For instance, if there is low access to services or personal security it is likely that a city may struggle to attract companies, as few highly-qualified or well-paid workers would be keen to move there.

  • Identifying functional urban areas (FUAs) to better understand urban-rural linkages (Box 3.4). FUAs can offer information on how people commute depending on jobs, consumption habits and leisure preferences. The Well-being Survey includes three questions on commuting flows that can help identify the FUAs if the scope of the survey is expanded to cover all the municipalities in the departments in which the four agglomerations are located. The current geographical coverage of the survey is based on the definition of an agglomeration. The latter leaves out a number of municipalities as well as other dormitory towns that are key to understanding the metropolitan dynamics of the urban area.

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Box 3.4. Functional urban areas

The OECD worked with the European Commission to introduce a methodology in 2012 for defining their metropolitan areas on a consistent basis as functional economic units or what are known as functional urban areas (FUAs). The main goal was to avail of a definition for cities and metropolitan areas that better reflects the economic reach of an area than merely its administrative boundaries. This definition increases international comparability and provides units of analysis that are more useful for urban policy planning. Using population density and commuting flows as the main sources of information, FUAs are identified that are characterised by a densely inhabited city core surrounded by municipalities with smaller populations but whose labour market is highly integrated with the core. Using FUAs enables policies to be designed at the right scale; the most obvious example of this is the public transport network. An efficient transport network cannot be designed, for example, without considering the number of workers commuting into the centre of a metropolitan area from surrounding municipalities and vice versa.

The method for delimiting a FUA has two main steps. The first step is to identify the urban core using clusters of contiguous grid cells of one square kilometre (km2) with a density of at least 1 500 inhabitants per km2 and a total population of at least 50 000. Commuter belts are then identified as areas that attract workers from other municipalities to the urban core, which are defined as such when at least 15% of the municipalities’ workforce commutes to the urban core. The total area of a FUA is the sum of the urban core and the commuter belt.

Source: OECD (2012b), Redefining “Urban”: A New Way to Measure Metropolitan Areas

Another window of opportunity for establishing the concept of FUA as a definition for city in Argentina is the national census scheduled for 2020. In Argentina, the INDEC is holding meetings with the provincial offices of statistics to coordinate the design of the census questionnaire. During these discussions, Córdoba could suggest reviewing the definition of city for statistical purposes and including questions on commuting flows.

Administrative records


Administrative records are one of the most prominent alternative sources of data today and can complement, or even replace, some traditional surveys. For most national statistical offices, personal and company tax records, and other systems tracking administrative records (such as driving licences, social security numbers, etc.) have become the backbone of their statistical infrastructure.

New well-being indicators could be produced with administrative records in areas such as income, personal security or health. For instance, although the results presented in Chapter 2 indicate that Córdoba is not suffering a violence crisis like a number of other Latin American countries, the province must continue to work towards achieving levels similar to most European OECD countries. A step in this direction could be to improve gender violence metrics by using crime administrative records where aggressors are reported as a male. Another area of interest could be to use financial wealth data from tax declarations to supplement income and income distribution indicators. In the area of health, information on cause of death could be used to complement indicators on mortality rates. The latter could help prioritise policies to avoid some of the most common causes of death in the province.

Areas for improvement

The statistical infrastructure needed to establish a statistical system based on administrative records requires a long-term commitment. However, in the short-term Córdoba could use administrative records for specific programmes. A step in this direction would be to collect administrative data from beneficiaries of social or business programmes. The information should be collected to ensure it can be crossed with other databases.

A single register of beneficiaries could help cross-reference databases between the various social programmes in the province. It is now common in OECD countries to use similar tools for cross-analysing different administrative records. For instance, in the Netherlands three and a half year olds have their personal ID number (PIN) to monitor educational attainment. The PIN is cross-referenced with other socioeconomic data to identify the reasons for a child succeeding or failing at school. Another example is in Canada, where businesses applying to be beneficiaries of commercial programmes are required to submit a standard information form. This form includes a company number – a unique company identification code – that can then be used to access other tax and administrative records, and monitor the economic impact of each commercial programme (Box 3.5).

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Box 3.5. Using official records to evaluate policies and programmes

Official pupil records in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, a major source of information for researching and monitoring education policies is the personal ID number (PIN) assigned to all three and a half year olds in the country. Commonly known as the education number, it is the same as the tax and social security number. Schools provide the PINs along with other pupil data throughout a child’s education. These data are being used more frequently to monitor educational attainment, attendance and dropouts. The PIN is a very useful tool in the country’s plan to tackle school dropouts because it provides complete and reliable data on national, regional, municipal and even district dropout rates. A monthly report is produced using secondary school records on absenteeism and dropouts, which municipalities and schools can use to give priority to students at greatest risk. These data are also cross-referenced with socioeconomic information by region, city and district, including demographic information such as a person’s country of origin, ethnic minorities, unemployment, people entitled to income support, etc. These statistics and the ongoing monitoring of results allow the public authorities to assess what works and what does not and thereby introduce new or amend existing public policies to tackle the challenges faced in different communities.

Business innovation programmes in Canada

The statistical tables for clean technology review are one of the outcomes of a project undertaken by Statistics Canada in support of horizontal innovation and clean technology. They were produced from data provided by 22 federal government departments and Crown corporations. They were subsequently integrated into Statistics Canada’s Linkable File Environment (LFE), which comprises a large number of administrative and business survey data. Specifically, more than 430 000 individual records were collected, from 98 business programme streams over the 2007-16 period. Programme streams were also grouped in seven aggregate categories: grants, repayable contributions, non-repayable contributions, conditional repayable contributions, financing, government performed services and other. Programme recipients at the enterprise level (whether for-profit or public entities) were matched to Statistics Canada’s Business Register (BR), which contains all active enterprises in Canada, and then linked to the LFE using both deterministic and probabilistic techniques. A high match rate was achieved, representing 89.4% of all records and 96.6% of funds, corresponding to 88 415 unique recipient enterprises over the reference period. Relevant data for these enterprises, such as financial and employment variables, industry, location, profit and exporter status, were then extracted from the LFE.

Sources: OECD (2012a), Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools,; Statistics Canada (2018), Horizontal Business Innovation and Clean Technology Review Statistical Tables, (accessed on 24 August 2018).


Córdoba’s provincial government should advance the creation of a single system for social programme beneficiaries that helps cross-reference data from the various ministries, agencies and even non-government organisations. In this sense, Law 9662 aims to create a “Single system for the registration of individuals and/or families benefiting from social programmes” and a coordination unit, formed by representatives from the Ministries of Social Development and Finance, the Secretariat of Equity and Employment Promotion and the General Secretariat of Government. The law stipulates that eligible beneficiaries will be chosen according to “poverty” and “indigence” criteria established by the INDEC. Ministries, agencies, municipalities and communes are all required to submit information on social programmes to the coordination unit. The ministries and agencies responsible for executing each social programme will also be required to register beneficiaries’ records in a digital tool.

Open data


Córdoba’s statistical office has made notable progress increasing public access to data, with a new section on its website dedicated to open data. The data published are subject to a protocol to increase their accessibility. Data published can be processed using software, are provided for a minimum fee (or even free), and are not subject to any copyright restricting its use or dissemination.

Areas for improvement

One of the next areas that could be explored in the province is open microdata, i.e. open data on individual entities (such as a company, a building or in some cases even an individual), although confidentiality and privacy are key considerations. Some types of microdata are becoming increasingly commonplace in the public domain and their confidentiality is not seen as a problem. Examples include address lists, building footprints, datasets with geolocation of infrastructures, amenities, service points and even company registers (Box 3.6). In fact, a large part of this information could already be obtained using publicly available satellite images.


Apart from making new sources of data available to the public, there are other steps the DGEyC should consider to ensure the set of well-being indicators are widely disseminated. The DGEyC could provide academics and expert audiences with a methodological guide and the codes used to calculate well-being indicators.

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Box 3.6. Examples of open data policies in the OECD

Official enterprise registers in Quebec, Canada

The enterprise register is a legal public system for all companies operating in Quebec, irrespective of their legal form. It is also a public data bank that can be accessed by the general public. This public register was set up pursuant to the Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprise, which aims to protect the public and businesses in their socioeconomic and commercial affairs. Since 1 January 1994, all companies doing business in Quebec have to be registered. Companies must declare, in particular: their activities; the names and domiciles of their shareholders, directors, partners and executives if they are not members of the board of directors; the addresses of their establishments; and any other names used to conduct their activities. Since 4 July 2016, some of the data from the enterprise register have been published on the Données Québec website, which contains open data (administrative data and data that are in the public interest) from the government of Quebec and certain municipalities. The purpose of the register is to boost the government’s administrative efficiency and facilitate communications between the government and associations and businesses. The registry therefore allocates registered companies a Quebec Enterprise Number (QEN) and supplies information to the government departments and agencies responsible for managing public business programmes.

Municipal address data set in Denmark

Before 1996, address data was registered and collected individually by the 270 Danish municipalities. Although public data were available, organisations wanting to access the data had to make separate access and pricing agreements with each municipality, rendering the data practically inaccessible. The lack of an accessible, unified public data set resulted in the development of several private databases of varying quality. The agreement between municipalities called “Better Access to Public Data” (more widely known as the “free of charge agreement”) came into effect on 1 January 2003, but legal issues delayed its full implementation until 2005 when the law governing the Public Data Server was amended. The agreement removed the legal restrictions on the distribution of address data to third parties, as well as the fee for distribution. The agreement made available data from the Cadastre and municipal property and dwelling registers, which comprised address data and their associated geographic coordinates, free of charge through a government portal, with those accessing it paying only the cost of distribution. The municipalities were compensated €1.3 million for loss of income from sales of data for the three years after the agreement was reached.

Sources: Government of Quebec (2018a), “Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprises”, (accessed on 24 August 2018); Government of Quebec (2018b), Données Quebec, (accessed on 24 August 2018); GOVLAB (2018), Denmark’s Open Address Data Set, (accessed on 15 September 2018).

copy the linklink copied!Improving governance to foster regional development

To achieve its regional development goals the province of Córdoba should continue enhancing certain aspects of governance and its institutions – some of which were already highlighted in the OECD (2016a) report:

  • Coordinating the design and implementation of social programmes to avoid duplications or overlaps

  • Cooperating with municipalities and communes (427) to effectively implement social programmes.

  • Fostering metropolitan governance in the four agglomerations to address common challenges that cannot be tackled alone by a single municipality.

  • Ensuring the well-being framework is used as a regional development tool that crosses policy cycles and promotes people-centric policies.

Operational implementation of social programmes


In Córdoba there is a large number of social programmes across the various ministries and secretariats. Each provincial ministry and secretariat has a wide range of programmes in place to solve the well-being challenges faced in the province.

Provincial decrees clearly assign roles and responsibilities for the implementation of social programmes. The provincial government must approve a provincial decree before a social programme can be implemented. These decrees set out the programme’s objectives and geographical scope, as well as the competent public authorities that should lead the implementation of the programme. It also assigns powers to the competent authority to sign agreements with other institutions (public, private, or non-profit) that can help the programme implementation. Decrees assign ultimate responsibility for allocating funds to the Ministry of Finance. For instance, the provincial decree for the programme “Más Leche, Más Proteínas” (More Milk, More Protein) sets:

  • Objective: to ensure adequate nutrition of children from birth to 11 years old by providing fortified and whole milk

  • Service provision: the product will be distributed through childcare centres, health centres and primary schools

  • Competent authority: Social Development Ministry

  • Authorities providing technical assistance: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Secretariat of Equity and Employment Promotion

  • Powers to sign agreements with public and private entities and municipalities and communes to implement the programme

  • Ministry of Finance should make the necessary budget provisions.

Areas for improvement

The decrees have been effective in coordinating the implementation of social programmes in the province. Examples of where such coordination is essential are the Salas Cuna programme, the Más Leche, Más Proteínas programme, and the PAICOR programme. These programmes have very similar objectives and duplications have to be avoided. On the one hand, the General Secretariat of Government submits to the Ministry of Social Development the PAICOR beneficiaries register to help define who can benefit from the Más Leche, Más Proteínas programme. It also shares the same information to the Secretariat of Equity and Employment Promotion to ensure Salas Cuna beneficiaries do not receive products from the Más Leche, Más Proteínas programme. Another example of effective coordination is the “Plan Vida Digna” (Decent Life Plan). In this instance, the Ministry of Social Development identifies beneficiaries through social assistance surveys. The Ministry of Housing is responsible for the expenditure of this programme and the Ministry of Social Development controls expenditure. Since the plan involves providing subsidies and loans based on a beneficiary’s status, the Bank of Córdoba also intervenes as the collection agent.


A single register of beneficiaries of social programmes is one way of boosting the operational coordination of programmes. Creating a single system would contribute to making the package of social programmes of the province of Córdoba more effective and efficient. First, it would allow to identify beneficiaries receiving duplicate products or services. Second, it would allow to identify beneficiaries who qualify for more than one social programme, but are only signed up to one social programme for some reason (because they are unaware of the existence of other programmes, the administrative procedure is burdensome, etc). Lastly, it would allow the total number of beneficiaries in the province to be monitored over time and, ultimately, to be classified according to the well-being areas for which they require a service. The latter could help determine which well-being areas need to be prioritised.

Provincial-municipal cooperation


Cooperating with the 427 municipalities and communes across the province (Box 3.7) to deliver services is crucial to implementing well-being programmes. Córdoba’s geographical scale generally means the neediest in society are those who have the least contact with the provincial government, because they live in a remote area of the province or in sparsely populated areas where it is difficult to deliver services. Municipalities and their mayors therefore play an essential role in informing inhabitants of available programmes and delivering some of those services. For example, milk for the Más Leche, Más Proteínas programme is purchased by the provincial government but distributed by municipalities because the centres to deliver the milk are managed by municipalities (primary healthcare centres, childcare centres and primary schools).

To overcome the scale challenge, the province of Córdoba has tried to cooperate with municipalities through the presidents of regional communities. The presidents of regional communities are elected for each of the 26 departments by municipalities within the department. Each president is responsible for communicating provincial programmes to municipalities so that municipalities can inform citizens of the services on offer.

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Box 3.7. Municipalities and communes in the province of Córdoba

The 427 municipalities in Córdoba are institutional, financial, economic, administrative and political entities that are self-governing, as laid down in the Provincial Constitution. They are also autonomous in the way they carry out their functions and the competencies assigned to them in the Provincial Constitution and the laws deriving from it. Córdoba’s Constitution establishes that any settlement with more than 2 000 inhabitants must be considered a municipality; municipalities are self-governing, responsible for how provincial funds are used, and able to generate their own revenue. The number of municipalities in Córdoba is unusual in Argentina. Along with the neighbouring province of Santa Fé, Córdoba is the province with the greatest number of municipalities in the country. The most highly populated province, Buenos Aires, has 134 municipalities, and the average number of municipalities per province is just 91. Tier-three governments are subject to a Municipal Organic Charter, in the case of cities, or the Municipal Organic Law for those municipalities without an organic charter. Each municipality draws up its own Organic Charter, the provisions of which are established in the corresponding provincial constitution.

Source: OECD (2016), OECD Territorial Reviews: Córdoba, Argentina

Areas for improvement

Presidents of the regional communities have not always been completely effective in implementing social programmes. This may be because agreements have had to be signed individually with each municipality to ensure a service is delivered appropriately. This ad hoc approach leads to differences in how the services are delivered – for example a municipality could refuse to cooperate with the provincial government, due to political allegiances.


An option to promote cooperation between the provincial and municipal level could be the establishment of an association of local authorities that integrates the presidents of regional communities. Although, there is the Argentinian Federation of Municipalities at national level (88 municipalities of the province of Córdoba are members), there is no provincial association. In some OECD countries, these associations have proven useful as a forum for identifying shared objectives, interests, challenges and solutions (OECD, 2016a). They also act as a single voice to establish a common position when negotiating with the provincial government. Some regions in the OECD have created their own associations (Box 3.8). In the province of Córdoba, this association could also set up technical committees that:

  • Identify the various challenges and problems the population in the hinterland faces in relation to the various well-being dimensions.

  • Discuss how programmes are designed and analyse the challenges of implementing them at municipality level.

  • Monitor and evaluate social programmes, focusing especially on the well-being challenges in the province’s rural areas

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Box 3.8. Associations of municipalities in the OECD

Association of Flemish Cities and Towns (VVSG)

The VVSG is made up of 308 towns and cities and was founded in 1993 to create a partnership network of Flemish local authorities. The VVSG offers local governments advice regarding their international cooperation activities and provides training to local municipal staff on using social networks, designing multi-year plans and managing human resources. The VVSG acts as a coordinator between Flemish local governments to foster inter-municipality cooperation when delivering public services and managing risks. To achieve this, a decree was enacted in 2001 establishing 4 municipal cooperation mechanisms, from so-called “soft” associations to others referred to as “exhaustive”: inter-local associations, project-specific associations, associations for the delivery of services, and associations with clear remits. Waste management, drinking water supplies and public transport services are the areas in which the VVSG has helped create the most partnerships.

ANCI Toscana

ANCI is the Association of Italian Municipalities, comprising several regional associations with statutory autonomy such as ANCI Toscana. This regional association provides technical and political assistance and coordinates municipalities in Tuscany in order to forge a permanent relationship with state and regional authorities and with representatives of social, cultural, trade unions and business organisations. To achieve this, ANCI Toscana provides training, runs awareness-raising campaigns (for example on discrimination or disease prevention) and hosts events to boost horizontal collaboration between municipalities and raise the municipalities’ profile on the international stage. ANCI Toscana is structured around five working groups: the Confederation of Municipal Boards, the Small Municipalities Board, the Municipal Trade Unions Board, the ANCI Coordination Board for Young People, and the Mountains Board. There are also a number of thematic areas of work such as the environment, regional governance and innovation, and mobility.

Association of Municipalities of Antofagasta Region

The goals of this association of municipalities are: to help find solutions to common problems concerning urban development and meeting basic needs (such as water, clean energy and sewage) among others; to play a part in better managing available funds, championing municipal self-governance; to defend local interests; and to enhance the democratic process in the municipalities. To do so, it encourages dialogue and interaction between communes and national and international bodies by providing technical assistance to its members and training municipal staff.

The Technical Unit of the Association of Municipalities of Antofagasta Region was set up in 2013 to support civil servants in the municipalities to perform their duties, when these individuals lack the resources or ability to do so alone. The unit has championed a raft of improvements in urban and rural areas across the region’s nine communes. It has contributed to meeting basic requirements for drinking water, clean energy and sewerage by designing public works projects. The unit consists of seven experts in architecture and civil engineering, who are responsible for designing and coordinating the projects developed for each of the nine communes. It also carries out preliminary analysis of programmes proposed by the communes, to procure finance from the Deputy Secretary of Administrative and Regional Development (SUBDERE).

Sources: OECD (2018), Reshaping Decentralised Development Co-operation: The Key Role of Cities and Regions for the 2030 Agenda,; Anci Toscana (n.d.), Homepage, (accessed on 26 August 2018); VVSG (2017), “Local authorities and public service delivery in Flanders”,; AMRA (2017), Gestión Asociativa [Joined Up Management], (accessed on 26 August 2018).

Cooperation in metropolitan areas


In the province of Córdoba, the results of the various well-being indicators show that there are common problems across the municipalities that integrate agglomerations. The provincial government is aware that the challenges faced by the main municipalities in the province not only lie within their administrative boundaries but also within their metropolitan area. This is why the Well-being Survey conducted for the agglomerations of Gran Córdoba, Río Cuarto-Las Higueras, San Francisco and Villa María-Villa Nueva include neighbouring municipalities with which they heavily interact.

Areas for improvement

As highlighted in OECD (2016a), the degree of autonomy of the municipalities affect inter-municipal cooperation in the delivery of services. The most illustrative example is the case of the city of Córdoba and the other municipalities within the Gran Córdoba. Gran Córdoba has low population density – it covers approximately 50 square kilometres from its centre, containing 46 municipalities and approximately 1.8 million inhabitants. The functional urban area is even larger since workers can commute from up to 100 kilometres away. Río Cuarto-Las Higueras, Villa María-Villa Nueva and San Francisco also have economic, social and environmental relationships with surrounding municipalities. All this means the municipalities within the agglomerations face common challenges when delivering public services such as sewerage, urban traffic congestion management, and waste management (OECD 2016a).


Increasing inter-municipal cooperation to achieve economies of scale that ensure services are delivered more efficiently is crucial for the province. The Survey is an opportunity to begin establishing a metropolitan approach in the province’s main agglomerations. Publishing indicators for the entire agglomeration and not by municipality could raise awareness among municipal authorities and citizens that the agglomerations’ challenges are shared problems with common solutions. The results of the well-being indicators at agglomeration level could be used to bring municipalities together and begin discussing joint actions to improve certain areas of well-being. The evidence provided by these indicators could therefore be used to negotiate agreements or forge partnerships in certain policy areas.

Ensuring the well-being framework cuts across policy cycles


Ensuring the longevity of well-being frameworks is a challenge for many regions because of the political perception around these initiatives. Although the leadership of a politician or group of politicians is critical for the success of regional well-being initiatives, the question is whether such initiatives will survive a change in government. For a framework to survive a change of political leadership, it is essential for it to be accepted by the public administration, i.e. unelected civil servants (Carnegie UK Trust, 2016).

In Córdoba, the General Secretariat of Government, backed by the Governor, has championed the development of the well-being framework and invested time and monetary resources in establishing it. Nevertheless, a specific well-being agenda could be seen as the brainchild of a particular political party and, therefore, not something that has been agreed among the various political factions.

Areas for improvement

To increase the likelihood of a well-being framework cutting across political cycles, non-government stakeholders – including civil society and special interest groups – have to feed identified with the framework concepts and indicators. The more stakeholders commit to a framework, the more likely it is that they will insist on its continuity. The General Secretariat of Government and the OECD have worked jointly to consult the various ministries and agencies responsible for regional well-being policies, as well as the Provincial Council for Social Policies (formed by representatives from the public, private, academic and not-for-profit sectors) during the design phase of the well-being framework.


Some actions could help ensure the continuity of the well-being framework in the medium and long-term:

  • Foster a single vision for the province through a regional development strategy that goes beyond the view of a provincial government. Civil servants, politicians and stakeholders should work towards long-term well-being strategies. To this end, a step forward are the current efforts to link the regional development strategy with the SDGs, an international agenda setting goals for 2030.

  • Instil the idea that the well-being framework is technical in nature and not politicised, and that it provides evidence to improve policies and budgetary decisions. It is therefore crucial to emphasise the reliability of the data collected through the Well-being Survey – an open data policy can help in this regard. Another action is to highlight in official documents how well-being metrics have contributed to decision-making.

  • Formalise well-being frameworks through legislative mechanisms. Using the well-being framework in parliamentary structures also enhances its sustainability; an incentive for this is to legislate so that governments are required to consider regional well-being. For example, this has been achieved in Scotland through the 2015 Community Empowerment Act. In Victoria (Australia) the Municipal Public Health and Well-being Act requires municipalities to draw up evidence-based policies fundamentally aimed at protecting health and enhancing well-being of citizens (Box 3.9).

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Box 3.9. Legislative mechanisms to support regional well-being initiatives

Scotland: Community Empowerment Act (2015)

The bill was passed by the Scottish parliament on 17 June 2015 and aims to empower community bodies through the ownership or control of land and buildings, and by strengthening their voices in decisions about public services. The new act gives community bodies a right to request to buy, lease, manage or use land and buildings belonging to local authorities, Scottish public bodies or Scottish ministries. It also establishes new obligations for the public sector authorities. There are situations where lot of land which is abandoned, neglected and/or causing harm to the well-being of the community, and the owner is not willing to sell that land. To acquire these buildings and land, community bodies must set out what they plan to do with the land and what benefits it will bring to the community. Their proposals will be approved based on their compatibility with sustainable development in these spaces. The public sector authorities will consider whether the proposals will improve economic development, regeneration, health, or social or environmental well-being, or reduce inequalities. This initiative is a major step in engaging the community in regional planning and encouraging dialogue on local issues and services.

Victoria, Australia: Municipal Public Health and Well-being Act (2008)

This act was designed to protect the health and well-being of Victoria’s inhabitants, foster community involvement in prevention measures, and bolster health protection, promotion and prevention systems across all sectors and tiers of government. The act was therefore also intended to better equip individuals and enable the local community to start, support and manage healthcare planning. One of the fundamental aspects of this is the Municipal Public Health and Well-being Plan (MPHWP) because it sets out the approach and strategy of each local council to enable local citizens to be as happy and healthy as possible. Each municipal plan must cover the priorities set forth in the Public Health and Well-being Plan of Victoria, which is renewed every 4 years. It is crucial to achieving tangible health and well-being outcomes that municipal strategies and those at the Victoria state level are joined up. These plans have also contributed to forging successful partnerships with other players from academia, the private sector and healthcare. This act stands out because it recognises the importance of promoting conditions for a healthy life and the concept of sustainability, which means that people must avail of the resources needed to have a decent life now and in the future, and to protect the health of future generations.

Sources: Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, Public Health and Well-being Act 2008 (Vic) s 4(2) (Australia); Gostin, L.O. et al. (2017), Advancing the Right to Health: The Vital Role of Law, World Health Organization, Geneva,

copy the linklink copied!Policy recommendations

Use the regional well-being framework to improve the outcomes of regional development policies in Córdoba.

  • Pursue further the efforts to link regional development goals to well-being metrics, in order to monitor and evaluate public action. In Córdoba, the government’s three key policy areas of social justice, sustainable economic growth and strengthening institutions are well defined, and well-being indicators could help monitor whether the government is achieving its targets.

  • Use interdimensional indicators to manage the complementarities between well-being policy areas. The complementarities between well-being dimensions can be measured, at least partially, using interdimensional indicators looking at two well-being dimensions side-by-side by measuring specific outcomes by social group or individuals that share a similar result in another dimension.

  • Link well-being programmes to well-being outcomes. This would help quantify the extent to which social programmes contribute to achieving the government’s strategic objectives.

  • Consider using well-being multidimensional criteria to allocate public funds. There are several provincial funds dedicated to boost regional development at municipality level. These investments could be targeted by using rules based on multidimensional well-being criteria.

Establish Córdoba as a test bed for innovation and experimentation in improving Argentina’s statistical system.

  • Take a step-by-step approach to widening the geographical coverage of the Well-being Indicators, considering “value for money”. Expanding the coverage of Well-being indicators beyond four agglomerations (currently covering 55% of the province’s population) to include other urban areas (close to 90% of the province is urban):

    • Start with obtaining representative samples (with less costly methodologies as traditional surveys and alternative methods such as administrative registers or satellite imagery) from the five provincial departments (Río Cuarto, Punilla, San Justo, Colón and General San Martín) which, along with Capital, are home to around 70% of the population.

    • Continue with the small and medium-sized municipalities that best represent the remaining 20% of the urban population.

    • A final step could involve investing in other types of less costly surveys or polls that help to determine the well-being of the rural population.

  • Push further the use of administrative records to produce official statistics. Produce new well-being indicators by making better use of administrative records, including income (through tax returns), personal security (police crime records) or health (death certificates).

  • Further develop the open data policy to increase users’ confidence in well-being indicators. The set of well-being indicators could be disseminated by enabling access to microdata, and providing academics and experts with a methodological guide and the codes used to calculate the indicators.

Enhance public governance to boost regional development:

  • Progress with the creation of a single register of beneficiaries of social programmes to:

    • Identify beneficiaries receiving duplicate public services through different programmes.

    • Increase the total number of potential beneficiaries by being able to identify beneficiaries who qualify for more than one social programme but are only signed up to one.

    • Monitoring changes over time in the total number of beneficiaries in the province.

  • Improve cooperation between provincial and municipal authorities by:

    • Establishing an association of municipalities (or similar mechanism). This association could serve as a forum to identify common goals, interests, challenges and possible solutions. It would also act as a single voice to establish a common position when negotiating with the provincial government.

  • Use the Survey as an opportunity to establish a metropolitan approach in the province’s main agglomerations. The results of the well-being indicators at agglomeration level could be used to bring municipalities together and begin discussing joint action at metropolitan level.

  • Ensure the well-being framework cuts across political cycles:

    • Promote the idea that the well-being framework is technical, not politicised, and is used to improve the decision-making process.

    • Formalise the well-being framework through legislative mechanisms. Using the well-being framework in parliamentary structures also enhances its sustainability.

    • Members of the Provincial Council for Social Policies (CPSP) could become ambassadors of the well-being framework.


AMRA (2017), Gestión Asociativa [Joined Up Management], Association of Municipalities of Antofagasta Region, (accessed on 26 August 2018).

Anci Toscana (n.d.), Homepage, (accessed on 26 August 2018).

Carnegie UK Trust (2016), Sharpening our Focus: Guidance on Wellbeing Frameworks for Regions and Cities,

Córdoba Provincial Government (2017), Government Performance Report 2017 (Memoria de Gestión 2017), (accessed in July 2018).

Gostin, L.O. et al. (2017), Advancing the Right to Health: The Vital Role of Law, World Health Organization, Geneva,

Government of Quebec (2018a), “Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprises”, (accessed on 26 August 2018).

Government of Quebec (2018b), Données Quebec, (accessed on 26 August 2018).

GOVLAB (2018), Denmark’s Open Address Data Set, (accessed 15 September 2018).

OECD (2018), Reshaping Decentralised Development Co-operation: The Key Role of Cities and Regions for the 2030 Agenda, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2017), Making Decentralisation Work in Chile: Towards Stronger Municipalities, OECD Multi-level Governance Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2016a), OECD Territorial Reviews: Córdoba, Argentina, OECD Territorial Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2016b), Well-being in Danish Cities, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2013), OECD Territorial Reviews: Antofagasta, Chile 2013, OECD Territorial Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2012a), Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2012b), Redefining “Urban”: A New Way to Measure Metropolitan Areas, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Santiago Metropolitan Regional Government (n.d.), Instrumentos de Inversión Regional [Regional Investment Instruments], Santiago, (accessed on 26 August 2018).

Schumann, A. (2016), “Using Outcome Indicators to Improve Policies: Methods, Design Strategies and Implementation”, OECD Regional Development Working Papers, No. 2016/02, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Statistics Canada (2018), Horizontal Business Innovation and Clean Technology Review Statistical Tables, (accessed on 26 August 2018).

Tarapaca Regional Government (2018), Gestión de Gobierno [Government Management], Iquique, (accessed on 26 August 2018).

VVSG (2017), “Local authorities and public service delivery in Flanders”, Presentation, Lviv,


← 1. GRI is an institution that is world renowned for being a pioneer in defining indicators for preparing sustainability reports since 1997. Córdoba is the first province or region to comprehensively report on its management performance as per this international organisation’s standards.

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Chapter 3. Well-being indicators for regional development