Ginevra Floridi and Benjamin E Lauderdale, “Using expert judgements to measure "productive ageing" in Italy and South Korea”

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The use of composite measures for multidimensional concepts is increasingly popular in academia and policy-making. However, aggregating indicators into a scale that adequately reflects their substantive importance towards the concept to be measured is a difficult task. We propose a method for the generation of composite scales based on a conjoint experiment on experts and apply it to the concept of “productive ageing”. We ask academics with a research interest in productive ageing to complete a series of pairwise comparisons on hypothetical profiles of older people participating in different combinations of productive activities, and to different extents. By ranking profiles in the pair as more, similarly or less productive relative to each other, the experts implicitly reveal the weights to place on each activity. We model responses on the full set of activities, revealing their relative weights, and use these to construct a scale. This study represents a first attempt to generate a measure of productive ageing that is responsive to the relative importance that academics assign to different activities. The proposed method maximises validity by mapping existing indicators directly onto experts’ judgements about the relative weight of such indicators. It also allows us to assess systematic differences in the operationalisation of productive ageing between a group of Italian and a group of South Korean academics, by constructing separate scales for each expert and by country of origin. The results suggest that socio-cultural factors may influence academics’ definition and operationalisation of productivity in later life.

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