UN E-Government Survey in Media

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The EGDI is based on a comprehensive Survey of the online presence of all 193 United Nations Member States, which assesses national websites and how e-government policies and strategies are applied in general and in specific sectors for delivery of essential services. The assessment rates the e-government performance of countries relative to one another as opposed to being an absolute measurement. The results are tabulated and combined with a set of indicators embodying a country’s capacity to participate in the information society, without which e-government development efforts are of limited immediate use.

Although the basic model has remained consistent, the precise meaning of these values varies from one edition of the Survey to the next as understanding of the potential of e-government changes and the underlying technology evolves. This is an important distinction because it also implies that it is a comparative framework that seeks to encompass various approaches that may evolve over time instead of advocating a linear path with an absolute goal.

Mathematically, the EGDI is a weighted average of three normalized scores on three most important dimensions of e-government, namely: (1) scope and quality of online services (Online Service Index, OSI), (2) development status of telecommunication infrastructure (Telecommunication Infrastructure Index, TII), and (3) inherent human capital (Human Capital Index, HCI).

EGDI = 1/3 (OSI normalized + TII normalized + HCI normalized)

Prior to the normalization of the three component indicators, the Z-score standardization procedure is implemented for each component indicator to ensure that the overall EGDI is equally decided by the three component indexes, i.e. each component index presents comparable variance subsequent to the Z-score standardization. In the absence of the Z-score standardization treatment, the EGDI would mainly depend on the component index with the greatest dispersion.

After the Z-score standardization, the arithmetic average sum becomes a good statistical indicator, where “equal weights” truly means “equal importance.”

For standard Z-score calculation of each component indicator:

xnew = (x – µ)/σ


x is a raw score to be standardized;

µ is the mean of the population;

σ is the standard deviation of the population.


For more detailed information on the UN E-Government Survey methodology, please access the full methodology in English, Arabic or Chinese.