The JRC Statistical Audit of the Retail Restrictiveness Indicator

Monitoring the restrictiveness of regulations governing the retail companies may help to induce a positive dynamic leading to more open and competitive retail markets in the EU.

The Commission services have developed for the first time the monitoring framework for the Retail Restrictiveness Indicator, which is made of 14 types of restrictions, two sub-pillars, two pillars and one overall index across the 28 EU Member States.

This exercise inevitably entails both conceptual and practical challenges. The statistical audit discussed in this note was conducted by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), and it aims at maximising the reliability and transparency of the Retail Restrictiveness Indicator framework (1).

It should enable policy analysts and researchers alike to draw more relevant, meaningful and useful conclusions from the results presented in the Staff Working Document accompanying the Commission Communication A European retail sector fit for the 21st century.

Prior to undertaking this statistical assessment, the Retail Restrictiveness Indicator development team and the JRC engaged in previous discussions during fall 2017 and early 2018, whereby earlier versions of the framework were assessed by the JRC. Preliminary JRC suggestions were taken into account for the final computation of the Retail Restrictiveness Indicator and its underlying components.
The present statistical assessment of the Retail Restrictiveness Indicator focuses on two main aspects:

  •  The statistical coherence of the indicator framework, and;
  •  The impact of key modelling assumptions on the overall scores and ranks.

This JRC analysis complements the reported Retail Restrictiveness Indicator results for the EU Member States – namely those for the two main pillars, the Establishment restrictions and Operations restrictions - with estimated confidence intervals, in order to better appreciate the robustness of the results to key modelling choices (such as choice of the weights and the aggregation formula).



(1) The JRC statistical audit is based on the recommendations of the OECD & JRC (2008) Handbook on Composite Indicators, and on more recent research from the JRC (Saisana and Saltelli, 2011; Saisana et al., 2005, Saisana et al., 2011). Generally, JRC audits of composite indicators and scoreboards are conducted upon request of their developers, see and