Title Classification of EU countries' progress towards sustainable development based on ordinal regression techniques
Authors PÉREZ ORTIZ, MARÍA, de la Paz-Marin, M., Gutierrez, P. A., Hervas-Martinez, C., PÉREZ ORTIZ, MARÍA
External publication No
Means Knowledge-Based Syst.
Scope Article
Nature Científica
JCR Quartile 1
SJR Quartile 1
JCR Impact 2.94700
SJR Impact 1.46600
Area International
Publication date 01/08/2014
ISI 000338814800017
DOI 10.1016/j.knosys.2014.04.041
Abstract Sustainable development (SD) is a major challenge for nations, even more so in the current economic crisis and uncertain environment. Although different indicators, compindices and rankings to measure and monitor SD advances at the macro level exist, the benefits for stakeholders and policy makers are still limited because of the absence of predictive models (in the sense of models able to classify countries according to their SD advances). To cope with this need, this paper presents a first approximation via machine learning techniques. First, we study the SD stage of the 27 European Union Member States using information from the years 2005-2010 and different major indicators that have been related to SD. A hierarchical clustering analysis is conducted, and the patterns are categorised as advanced, followers, moderate and initiated, according to their progress towards SD. The classification problem is addressed from an ordinal regression point of view because of the inherent order among the categories. To do so, a reformulation of the one-versus-all scheme for ordinal regression problems is used, making use of threshold models (Logistic Regression (LR) and Support Vector Machines in this case) and a new trainable decision rule for probability estimation fusion. The empirical results indicate that the constructed model is able to achieve very promising and competitive performance. Thus, it could be used for monitoring the progress towards SD of the different EU countries, in a manner similar to that used for rankings. Finally, the decomposition method based on LR is used for model interpretation purposes, providing valuable information about the most relevant indicators for ranking the end-point variable. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords Sustainable development; European Union; Machine learning; Ordinal regression; Ensemble methods
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