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Country Rankings

This is a list of country rankings based on indicators that try to measure different comparable characteristics of countries around the world. Most of these rankings are ongoing and recurring.

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Governance & Political country rankings

Be careful when using these indexes. They measure qualities that are difficult to quantify. Moreover, methodologies often change year to year; therefore, multiyear comparisons are often invalid. For these reasons, it is important to know the methodologies used to derive these cross country comparisons before using them. Most of the indexes included provide their methodology.

Search tip: If you are looking for an indicator, e.g. stability, do a search in the search box for the database that you select. That will let you know which index measures that quality.

  • Asia Soft Power Survey (2008) from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and East Asia Institute (South Korea)
    A ranking of United States, Japan, China and South Korea's soft power in Asia. Soft power is defined as the ability to wield influence by indirect, nonmilitary means, whether by persuasion or attraction. The results are derived from surveys taken in the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam. The "Soft Power Index" is an average of the indexes to the five components of soft power: economic, cultural, human capital, diplomatic, and political.
  • Bertelsmann Transformation Index (2003, 2006, 2008, 2010) from Bertelsmann Stiftung
    Is the composite of two indices that compare the status of democracy and market economy (Status Index), and the quality of political management (Management Index) in more than 100 transition and developing countries.
    (Call number: HC59.7 .B3898 2005; HC59.7 .B399 2006; HD87 .B47 2008. AU Library has print copies of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index.
  • Democracy Index (2006, 2008, 2010) from the Economist Intelligence Unit
    Covers 165 independent states and two territories. Is based on the ratings for 60 indicators grouped in five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category has a rating on a 0 to 10 scale, and the overall index of democracy is the simple average of the five category indexes. Countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: full democracies; flawed democracies; hybrid regimes; and authoritarian regimes.
  • Electoral Democracy Index (EDI) for Latin America (1960, 1977, 1985, 1990-2002)
    The EDI was prepared for the UNDP report, Democracy in Latin America: Towards a Citizens' Democracy (p. 78). It is a compound measurement that combines four variables: the right to vote, fair elections, free elections, and elections as a means of access to public office. The EDI value ranges between zero and one, where zero indicates the complete absence of electoral democracy and one the maximum.
  • Failed States Index (2005- ) from The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy Magazine.
    Assess the stability and political risk of 177 countries by focusing on 12 social, economic and political indicators.
    Also available from the database, Academic Search Premier (AU Community Only)
    • Click on "Search within this publication."
    • Search for: failed states index.
  • Global Militarization Index (GMI) (2009-) from Bonn International Center for Conversion
    Represents the relative weight and importance of the military apparatus of a state in relation to society as a whole.
  • Global Peace Index (2007- ) from Vision of Humanity
    Ranks the countries of the world by their peacefulness using 24 indicators.
    The Vision of Humanity warns against year-on-year comparisons due to the expansion of the GPI from 121 countries to 140. In its methodology it states: "The normalisation of a number of our series for our index also makes direct year-on-year comparisons difficult as the normalised series essentially measure countries in direct reference to their respective differences for that given time period (maximums and minimums will differ between the 2007 GPI measurements and 2008). Nevertheless, we have developed a special comparative version of the Global Peace Index in 2008 for the original 121 countries. The comparison excludes new 2008 countries."
  • Global PRS Risk Index (1991- ) from Political Risk Services Group
    Rankings of 100 countries using PRS' risk ratings for turmoil, financial transfer, direct investment, and export markets. Available from the print copy of the PRS' Country Forecasts.
    (Call number: Ref HC 10 .C66). AU Library has print copies of Country Forecasts by Political Risk Services.
  • Ibrahim Index of African Governance (2000- ) from Mo Ibrahim Foundation
    Measures the performance of governments in Africa by four categories: safety and rule of law; participation and human rights; sustainable economic activity; and human development.
  • Index of African Governance (2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007) from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government's Program on Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution and World Peace Foundation
    Measures the performance of governments in Africa by five categories: safety and security; rule of law, transparency, and corruption; participation and human rights; sustainable economic opportunity; and human development. Based on the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.
  • KOF Index of Globalization (1970- ) from KOF Swiss Economic Institute
    Measures the three main dimensions of globalization: economic, social, and political.
  • Peace and Conflict Instability Ledger (2007) from Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM)
    A ranking of the status and progress of 160 countries based on their forecasted risk of future instability. The 2008 edition uses 2004 data to produce a three-year forecast indicating the risk of instability in 2007. The ranking is only available from the print report, Peace and Conflict 2008. Earlier editions of the Ledger use different indicators.
    (Call number: Ref JZ6385 .P43). AU Library has print copies of the Peace and Conflict reports.
  • Political Instability Index (2007, 2009/10) from Economist Intelligence Unit
    Shows the level of threat posed to governments by social protest. The index scores are derived by combining measures of economic distress and underlying vulnerability to unrest.
  • Open Budget Index (2006, 2008, 2010) from International Budget Partnership
    Assigns a score to each country based on the information the government makes available to the public throughout the budget process. Based on a biennial survey of people in academic institutions and civil society organizations.
  • State Fragility Index (from Polity IV) (1995, 2001, 2007) from Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM)
    Covers 162 independent countries and is derived by combining scores measuring two qualities of state performance: effectiveness and legitimacy on the dimensions of security, governance, economics, and social development.
  • Sustainable Governance Indicators 2014 from Bertelsmann Stiftung
    Measures the need for political, economic and social reform in the member countries of the OECD (Stability Index), and examines to what extent the countries' governments are able to tackle pressing problems and implement effective solutions (Management Index). Is based on the Bertelsmann Transformation Index. Will be updated every 2 years.
    A print copy of the complete publication, which provides the methodology, is on order.
  • Worldwide Governance Indicators (1996- ) from The World Bank
    Indicators of six dimensions of governance for 213 countries:
    • Voice and Accountability
    • Political Stability and Absence of Violence
    • Government Effectiveness
    • Regulatory Quality
    • Rule of Law
    • Control of Corruption