The GUC index consists of 114 indices, including 9 measuring indices and 105 subentry competitiveness indices. As a large number of sample cities are studied in the report and substantial gaps exist among the statistical approaches and standards adopted by each city, there have been considerable challenges in data collection, primarily:
1) First-hand data about some indices, e.g. population and area, are available in all sample cities; however, the data are collected according to different standards in different cities.
2) First-hand data about other indices, e.g. living environment index, are released by some consultancy institutions, are available in most sample cities, but unavailable in a few.
3) For another set of indices, no data are available from international, national statistical or regulatory bodies, this includes indices that reflect the distribution of industrial links, urban functions, and quality of enterprises.
To address this issue, different methods are employed in this sudy. In view of the above situations, data were collected through the following two channels, while at the same time we employ some effective methods to ensure that definitions of variables were similar so that the date are truly comparable.
Data for which the corresponding or alternative indices are available
Data of this type are collected mainly from official statistical publications of international organizations and governments, as well as reports of research institutions, and then processed with adequate methods for consistency (primarily data of 2005, with the time series data covering 2001-2005).
(1) Statistical data released by relevant agencies of state and city governments
Statistical data released by the statistics agencies of city and state governments are the most authoritative and most accurate data about relevant cities. Searching for such data from the publications or websites of such agencies is the basic approach to data collection in our study. Data released by other relevant agencies of the city and state governments are also authoritative and accurate. Searching for data from the publications or websites of those agencies is another important approach of our data collection. These agencies include the development planning, economic administration, labor and human resource, law enforcement, culture and education, environmental protection, city management and social services agencies.
(2) Statistical data released by other organizations or entities of the city and state
Statistical data about relevant organizations and entities of the city and state released by the organizations/entities themselves could be important for our study on specific aspects of the cities. Such organizations and entities include airports, ports, hotel, power/water supply companies and communication companies.
(3) Yearbooks or study reports of international organizations and research institutions
Yearbooks or study reports of international organizations and research institutions are still another important channel for the collection of objective data. Typically, these yearbooks and reports include World Development Indices and Business Environment Report of the World Bank, International Financial Statistics by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), UNDP Human Development Indices (HDI), data about world heritages available on the website of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Most Competitive Cities in the World by OECD, Eurostat Yearbook, World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) Yearbook, statistical data available on the website of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and World Competitiveness Report of World Economic Forum. Reports of other research institutions are important data sources, too. Such reports include the World knowledge Competitive Index (WKCI) compiled by Professor Robert Huggins Associates in University of Sheffield, World Cost of Living City Rankings and World Quality of Life City Rankings by Mercer, Banker Magazine’s Top 1,000 World Banks, and Webometrics Ranking of World’s Universities and Research Institutions.
Data for which the corresponding or alternative indices are unavailable
Data of this type are obtained through quantitative processing of original materials collected through the Internet, newspapers and other media in accordance with standards concerned (primarily data of 2007, with the time series data covering 2004-2007). Google is the one of the most frequently used search engine for our data collection on the Internet. Particularly, it is the prime tool for the collection of data about the popularity of cities, the number of papers published on international journals.
—— From“Global Urban Competitiveness Report（2007-2008）”，Pengfei Ni with Peter Karl Kresl