30 March, 2009

Political Instability Index

The EIU recently released the Political Instability Index, in it the EIU seeks to, "shows the level of threat posed to governments by social protest." Seeking to analyse a fuller understanding of people's satisfaction with their lives the Index uses a subjective survey to get at the deeper base of how people feel.

"Life satisfaction is seen as judgment that depends on social and culturally specific frames of reference. But this relativism is disproved by the fact that people in different countries report similar criteria as being important for life satisfaction, and by the fact that most differences in life satisfaction across countries can be explained by differences in objective circumstances." (THE EIU's Quality-of-Life Index, The Economist, 2005).

The Index looks beyond GDP, which proves nothing to how happy/content/satisfied people are with the statue quo. I would be interested to know how different income levels on the scale answered and perhaps see the data broken down that way.

The model is based on four factors:
  • infant mortality rate
  • extreme cases of economic or political discrimination against minorities
  • if a country has at least four neighborhoods that suffer violent conflicts
  • regime type
There are also two indexes the matrix uses. The first is Underlying Vulnerability and looks at inequality, state history, corruption & history of political instability among others. The second, Economic Distress, looks at growth in incomes, unemployment, income per head.

Zimbabwe is at the bottom of the list (for the second time) and Norway (which was third in 05 behind Ireland and Switzerland) now sits at the top. The US 11oth out of 165. Liberia is 28th, The DRC is 3rd and Sri Lanka is 31st.

Here is the full map: