The Index Ecosystem and the Commitment to Development Index

January 29, 2020


For 15 years, the Center for Global Development has produced the Commitment to Development Index (CDI). This is a good time to take stock and ask how, if at all, the CDI should be modified. The CDI has carved out a fairly specialized niche in the index ecosystem. No other index comes close to what it tries to do. It is not clear, however, that it is having the impact it should on aid ministries and on global civil society. There is an argument to be made that construction of the CDI as it stands is too complex and detailed. The CDI should consider reducing the number of sub-sub-components to a much smaller number, and ask itself which components would be included if there was a limit to the number to, say, 30. This can initially be done as an exercise alongside the production of the standard CDI. The highest increase in CDI’s value added will come from including the newly resurgent countries such as China and India alongside the old OECD countries. Without these, the CDI risks growing irrelevance. This introduction can done in sequence, alongside production of the standard CDI, leading eventually to a CDI which has fewer indicators but more countries.

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