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Data: 92 Global Indexes & Rankings

Updated: 12

Below is a list of indexes and rankings (organized into 10 categories) that allow the comparison of all (or many) countries of the world according to the respective composite measures. The indexes cover demographic, economic, social, cultural, political, military and environmental dimensions of global change. The links usually point to the latest revision of each index and to additional information (methodology, publications, etc.)

Most recently listed indexes and rankings:

Index of Economic Complexity  (Added 26 May 2015)

Open government index  (Added 20 May 2015)

World values survey (Added 19 March 2015)

Global open data index (Added 20 January 2015)

Climate Change Performance Index (Added 11 December 2014)

Global University Ranking (Added 20 November 2014)

Shadow economies of 162 countries (Added 11 October 2014)

World competitiveness ranking (Added 10 October 2014)

Top-50 business schools (Added 9 October 2014)

World risk index (Added 3 October 2014)

Networked readiness index (Added 3 October 2014)

Global energy architecture performance index (Added 3 October 2014)

Financial development index (Added 3 October 2014)

Good country index (Added 1 October 2014)

Global built environment wealth index (Added 30 September 2014)

World giving index (Added 22 September 2014)

World slavery index (Added 17 August 2014)



Human development, social development, public health

Human Development Index (HDI) (United Nations Development Programme)

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite measure of health, education and income that was introduced in the first Human Development Report in 1990 as an alternative to purely economic assessments of national progress, such as GDP growth.

Human Assets Index (Foundation for International Development Study and Research, University of Auvergne and CNRS, France)

The Human Assets Index (HAI) is a composite index of education and health for 147 developing countries.   Results Report ...   Data ...

Human Assets Index FOS 2014 (Excel)
Human Assets Index WFG 2014 (Excel)
Human Assets Index 2011

Multidimensional Poverty Index (UNDP)

The Multidimensional Poverty Index identifies multiple deprivations at the individual level in health, education and standard of living. It uses micro data from household surveys, and€”unlike the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index€”all the indicators needed to construct the measure must come from the same survey. Each person in a given household is classified as poor or non-poor depending on the number of deprivations his or her household experiences. This data are then aggregated into the national measure of poverty.
Data ...

Poverty Gap at $2 a Day (The World Bank)

The poverty gap is the mean shortfall from the poverty line (counting the non-poor as having zero shortfall), expressed as a percentage of the poverty line. This measure reflects the depth of poverty as well as its incidence.   More ...   More ...

Poverty Headcount Ratio at $2 a Day (The World Bank)

The population below $2 a day is the percentage of the population living on less than $2.00 a day at 2005 international prices. As a result of revisions in PPP exchange rates, poverty rates for individual countries cannot be compared with poverty rates reported in earlier editions. More ...

Quality of Life Index (Economist Intelligence Unit, UK)

The index links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of quality of life across countries.

Global Study on Homicide (UNODC - UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Austria)

Collection and analyses of data on intentional killings for all countries worldwide.

Global Aging Preparedness Index (Center for Strategic & International Studies)

Provides a comprehensive quantitative assessment of the progress that countries worldwide are making in preparing for global aging, and especially the old-age dependency dimension of the challenge.

Global Youth Wellbeing Index (Center for Strategic & International Studies / International Youth Foundation)

The Index ranks 30 high- to low-income countries in five regions that represent nearly 70 percent of the world€™s youth. The Index is comprised of 40 indicators grounded in economic and social growth and positive youth development theory and practice. More ...

Social Progress Index (Center for Strategic & International Studies / International Youth Foundation)

The Social Progress Index focuses on three distinct (though related) questions: 1. Does a country provide for its people€™s most essential needs? 2. Are the building blocks in place for individuals and communities to enhance and sustain wellbeing? 3. Is there opportunity for all individuals to reach their full potential? These three questions define the three dimensions of Social Progress: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity. More ...

Global Slavery Index (The Walk Free Foundation, Australia)

The Global Slavery Index provides a ranking of 162 countries around the world, based on a combined measure of three factors: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage, and a measure of human trafficking in and out of a country. More ...  More ...

Global Gender Gap Index (World Economic Forum; Switzerland, USA, China)

There are three basic concepts underlying the Global Gender Gap Index. First, it focuses on measuring gaps rather than levels. Second, it captures gaps in outcome variables rather than gaps in means or input variables. Third, it ranks countries according to gender equality rather than women€™s empowerment.   Results ... 

Gender Inequality Index (United Nations Development Programme - UNDP)

The Gender Inequality Index is similar in method to the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index. It can be interpreted as a percentage loss to potential human development due to shortfalls in the dimensions included. The world average score on the Gender Inequality Index is 0.463, reflecting a percentage loss in achievement across the three dimensions due to gender inequality of 46.3%. The index includes the following indicators: maternal mortality ratio; adolescent fertility rates; educational attainment statistics; parliamentary representation; and labor market participation.   Results ...

Happy Planet Index (World Economic Forum; Switzerland, USA, China)

The Happy Planet Index results show the extent to which 151 countries across the globe produce long, happy and sustainable lives for the people that live in them. The overall index scores rank countries based on their efficiency, how many long and happy lives each produces per unit of environmental output. More...   More ...

Comment: The Happy Planet Index yields some rather strange results - for instance, Colombia ranks #3 of all countries analyzed. Victims of Colombia's drug cartels might not feel so happy. The country is still devastated by an ongoing low intensity war among rival narco-paramilitary groups, guerrillas and drug cartels fighting each other to increase their influence. They also fight against the Colombian government that struggles to stop them. See: Illegal drug trade in Colombia.

World Happiness Report - Ranking of Countries (United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network)

The World Happiness Report is based on the results of Gallup surveys in more than 150 countries. On a scale running from 0 to 10, people in the period 2010-12, reveal a population-weighted average happiness score of 5.1 (out of 10). Six key variables explain three-quarters of the variation in annual national average scores over time and among countries. These six factors include: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity.

The 2012 Report identified the following five countries with the highest levels of happiness: Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Sweden. The lowest level of happiness in the 2010-2012 period was found in Portugal, Honduras, Kosovo, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Report...   Detailed Tables ...

OECD - Better Life Index (OECD)

This Index allows comparison of well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life.   Index Data ...   FAQ...

Comment: Only OECD countries are covered. Has a nice, interactive user interface that allows custom calculations of the index based on personal preferences.


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Banerjee - Poor Economics Collier - The Bottom Billion Moyo - Dead Aid Lupton - Toxic Charity

Abhijit Banerjee / Esther Duflo (2012) Poor Economics.
A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty.
Public Affairs

Paul Collier (2008)
The Bottom Billion.
Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It. Oxford University Press

Dambisa Moyo (2010)
Dead Aid. Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way For Africa. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Robert D. Lupton (2012)
Toxic Charity.
How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It. Harper One

Easterly - White Man's Burden Acemoglu - Why Nations Fail Landes - The Wealth and Poverty of Nations Sowell - Trickle Down Theory

William Easterly (2007)
The White Man's Burden. Why the West's efforts to aid the rest have done so much ill and so little good. Penguin Books

Daron Acemoglu / James Robinson (2013)
Why Nations Fail. The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty. Crown Business

David S. Landes (1999)
The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Why some are so rich and some are so poor.
 W.W. Norton

Thomas Sowell (2012)
"Trickle Down Theory" and "Tax Cuts for the Rich".
Hoover Institution Press

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Economic development

Gross National Income (GNI, PPP) (The World Bank)

GNI per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GNI is gross national income converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GNI as a U.S. dollar has in the United States. GNI is the sum of value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output plus net receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from abroad. Data are in current international dollars based on the 2011 International Comparison Program round.

Competitive Industrial Performance (CIP) Index  (UNIDO)

UNIDO's Competitive Industrial Performance (CIP) Index 2011 is to be released in 2014. The CIP index benchmarks national industrial performance of 118 countries using indicators of an economy's ability to produce and export manufactured goods competitively. An interactive map allows the user to explore the index across countries. (Index page sometimes does not work in Netscape Explorer).

Foreign Direct Investment (IMF / UNCTAD / The World Bank)

Foreign direct investment are the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest (10 percent or more of voting stock) in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor. It is the sum of equity capital, reinvestment of earnings, other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in the balance of payments. This series shows net inflows (new investment inflows less disinvestment) in the reporting economy from foreign investors. Data are in current U.S. dollars.

Central Government Dept (IMF/ The World Bank / NSOs / OECD)

Central Government Debt is the entire stock of direct government fixed-term contractual obligations to others outstanding on a particular date. It includes domestic and foreign liabilities such as currency and money deposits, securities other than shares, and loans. It is the gross amount of government liabilities reduced by the amount of equity and financial derivatives held by the government. Because debt is a stock rather than a flow, it is measured as of a given date, usually the last day of the fiscal year.

Total Reserves (The World Bank /IMF)

Total reserves comprise holdings of monetary gold, special drawing rights, reserves of IMF members held by the IMF, and holdings of foreign exchange under the control of monetary authorities. The gold component of these reserves is valued at year-end (December 31) London prices. Data are in current U.S. dollars.

World Economic Outlook Database (International Monetary Fund - IMF)

The World Economic Outlook database, prepared by the International Monetary Fund, contains estimates and projections for a large range of macro-economic indicators - including GDP, GDP per capita, GDP PPP, investment, Gross National Savings, inflation, volume of imports and exports of services and goods, employment, unemployment, government revenue, government expenditures, government lending and borrowing, balance of payment, etc. The data can be downloaded for 189 countries worldwide.

Financial Soundness Indicators (International Monetary Fund - IMF)

The Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs) were developed by the IMF, together with the international community, with the aim of supporting macro-prudential analysis and assessing strengths and vulnerabilities of financial systems.   Methodology...   Metadata...

Global Financial Centres Index (Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre Authority, UK, Qatar)

The GFCI provides profiles, rating and rankings for 83 financial centres, drawing on two separate sources of data - instrumental factors (external indices) and responses to an online survey.

FGFCI 16 (September, 2014: Full Report)

Financial Development Index (World Economic Forum; Switzerland, USA, China)

The Financial Development Index provides a score and rank for the breadth, depth, and efficiency of 62 of the world’s leading financial systems and capital markets. The Index analyzes drivers of financial system development that support economic growth, and thus compares the overall competitiveness of financial systems. Ultimately, the Report aims to serve as a tool for both advanced and emerging economies to benchmark themselves, thereby allowing them to identify and prioritize areas for reform.

Full Report

IMD World Competitiveness Ranking  (IMD World Competitiveness Center, Switzerland)

The rankings measure how well countries manage their economic and human resources to increase their prosperity.  

5-yer comparison of ranking
Press Release

Global Competitiveness Index (World Economic Forum; Switzerland, USA, China)

Since 2004, the Global Competitiveness Report ranks countries based on the Global Competitiveness Index, developed by Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Elsa V. Artadi.   Report...   Data...

Ease of Doing Business (The World Bank)

The ease of doing business index ranks economies from 1 to 189. For each economy the ranking is calculated as the simple average of the percentile rankings on each of the 10 topics included in the index in
Doing Business 2014: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.


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Senor - Start-up Nation

 Porter - Competitive Advantage of Nations

Brynjolfsson - Second Machine Age

Easterly - Tyranny of Experts

Dan Senor / Saul Singer (2011)
Start-up Nation. The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle Twelve

Michael E. Porter (1998)
Competitive Advantage of Nations. Free Press

Erik Brynjolfsson / Andrew McAfee (2014) The Second Machine Age. Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.
W.W. Norton & Company

William Easterly (2014)
The Tyranny of Experts. Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor.
Basic Books

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Index of Economic Freedom (The Heritage Foundation / Wall Street Journal, USA)

The index covers 10 freedoms €“ from property rights to entrepreneurship €“ in 186 countries.

See also: Comparison of freedom indices (WikipediA)

Index of Economic Freedom of the World (Cato Institute, USA / Fraser Institute, Canada)

The foundations of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, and open markets. Economic Freedom of the World seeks to measure the consistency of the institutions and policies of various countries with voluntary exchange and the other dimensions of economic freedom.

Index of Economic Complexity (Center for International Development at Harvard University, USA)

The Ranking of Economic Complexity is part of the CID Atlas of Economic Complexity. It is an interactive tool that enables users to visualize a country’s total trade, track how these dynamics change over time and explore growth opportunities for more than a hundred countries worldwide. The atlas includes time-series data of import and exports over time, as well as predictions of GDP based on the productive capabilities expressed in trade dynamics.

GINI Index (The World Bank)

The Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income (or, in some cases, consumption expenditure) among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. A Lorenz curve plots the cumulative percentages of total income received against the cumulative number of recipients, starting with the poorest individual or household. The Gini index measures the area between the Lorenz curve and a hypothetical line of absolute equality, expressed as a percentage of the maximum area under the line. Thus a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality. More ...   More ...

The Global Innovation Index (Cornell University, USA / INSEAD, France / WIPO)

The GII ranking covers 142 economies, accounting for 94.9% of the world€™s population and 98.7% of the world€™s Gross Domestic Product (in US dollars). The GII has established itself as the reference among innovation indices, and has evolved into a valuable benchmarking tool to facilitate public-private dialogue.

Index of Most Innovative Countries in the World (Bloomberg Rankings)

The index measures R&D intensity, productivity, high-tech density, researcher concentration, manufacturing capability, tertiary efficiency and patent activity.

Legatum Prosperity Index (Legatum Institute, UK)

Global measurement of prosperity based on both income and wellbeing.

The Commitment to Development Index (Center for Global Development, USA)

Each year, the CDI ranks wealthy governments on how well they are living up to their potential to help poor countries. The Index scores seven policy areas that affect the well-being of others around the world: aid, trade, finance, migration, environment, security, and technology. Overall scores are the average of scores in theses policy areas.

Index of Globalization (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH ZĂĽrich, Switzerland )

The Index of Globalization measures three dimensions of globalization: economic, social, and political.
In addition an overall index of globalization and sub-indices referring to actual economic flows, economic restrictions, data on information flows, data on personal contact, and data on cultural proximity are calculated. Data are available on a yearly basis for 207 countries over the period 1970 - 2011.

Index of Global Destination Cities: Cross-border Travel & Expenditures  (MasterCard)

Destination cities are ranked globally in terms of the number of their total international visitor arrivals and cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities. More ...

The Big Mac Index (The Economist, UK)

The Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their €ścorrect€ť level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalize the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. More ...

Travel and Tourism Competitiveness (World Economic Forum; Switzerland, USA, China)

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report assesses 141 economies worldwide based on the extent to which they are putting in place the factors and policies to make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector. Read the full news release for more information.. More ...   More ...

Tourism Market Trends (United Nations World Tourism Organization - UNWTO)

The World Tourism Market Trends provide rankings on international tourism in the world. In the publication, UN regions and sub-regions are ranked by the number of international visitor arrivals, by the revenue generated by inbound tourism, and by the expenditures of outbound travelers. More ...   More ...

Global Built Environment Wealth Index (EC Harris, Built Asset Consultancy / CEBR)

Conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Economic and Business Research, the Global Built Asset Wealth Index quantifies the accumulated wealth of 30 countries’ built assets – encompassing all the property and infrastructure that contributes to economic productivity – to present an alternative indicator of economic health and growth potential.

Full Report (pdf)
Info-Graphic (pdf)

Shadow Economies of 162 countries (Schneider, F. / Buehn, A. / Montenegro, C.E.; The World Bank)

This World Bank policy research working paper presents estimations of the shadow economies for 162 countries, including developing, Eastern European, Central Asian, and high-income countries over the period 1999 to 2006/2007..

Full Paper (pdf)


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Bales - Disposable People Sachs - Age of Sustainable Development Morse - Indices csis_global-youth

Kevin Bales (2012)
Disposable People. New slavery in the global economy.
University of California Press

Jeffrey D. Sachs (2015)
The Age of Sustainable Development.
Columbia University Press

Stephen Morse (2004): Indices and Indicators in Development: An Unhealthy Obsession with Numbers. Routledge.

Nicole Goldin / Payal Patel / Katherine Perry (2014): The Global Youth Wellbeing Index. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

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Political development, governance, freedom of the press

WJP Open Government Index (World Justice Project, USA)

The World Justice Project (WJP) Open Government Index is the first effort to measure government openness based on the general public’s experiences and perceptions worldwide. The Index presents aggregated scores and rankings as well as individual scores for each of the following dimensions of government openness: (a) publicized laws and government data, (b) right to information, (c) civic participation, and (d) complaint mechanisms. WJP was founded by William H. Neukom in 2006 as a presidential initiative of the American Bar Association. It is initially supported by 21 other strategic partners. Since 2009, the World Justice Project is an independent non-profit organization. Its offices are located in Washington, DC, and Seattle, WA, USA.

Full 2013 Report
Global Scores and Rankings

World Giving Index (Charities Aid Foundation, United Kingdom)

The World Giving Index looks at charitable behavior across the world, involving more than 130 countries. The report is based on more than half a million interviews conducted by Gallup since 2005/06, as part of their World Poll survey. The World Giving Index score is based on an average of three measures of giving behavior - the percentage of people who, in a typical month, donate money to charity, volunteer their time, and help a stranger. The three behaviors are also looked at on an individual basis within the report.

Full Report

Corruption Perception Index (Transparency International, Germany)

Measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 177 countries & territories. First launched in 1995.

Global Democracy Ranking (Democracy Ranking Association, Austria)

The Democracy Ranking is an annual ranking of all democracies in the world by focusing on the quality of Democracy in an international perspective. It includes the following dimensions: Politics, gender, economy, knowledge, health and the environment.  See also: Comparison of freedom indices (WikipediA)

Democracy Index (Economist Intelligence Unit, UK)

The index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories. The Economist Intelligence Unit€™s Index of Democracy is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.

Transformation Index (Bertelsmann Stiftung, Germany)

The Bertelsmann Stiftung€™s Transformation Index evaluates the quality of democracy, a market economy and political management in 129 developing and transition countries. It measures successes and setbacks on the path toward a democracy based on the rule of law and a socially responsible market economy.

World Press Freedom Index (Reporters Without Borders, France)

The World Press Freedom Index spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists.   More...   See also: Comparison of freedom indices (WikipediA)

Freedom in the World (Freedom House, USA)

Ranks countries according to political rights and civil liberties. The ratings represent global events from 1 January 2013, through 1 December 2013. Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world. It is located in Washington, DC and New York, NY.

See also: Comparison of freedom indices (WikipediA)

The World Governance Indicators (The World Bank)

The Worldwide Governance Indicators project constructs aggregate indicators of six broad dimensions of governance: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, Control of Corruption. The six aggregate indicators are based on 31 underlying data sources reporting the perceptions of governance of a large number of survey respondents and expert assessments worldwide. More ...

Political Instability Index (Economist Group, Economist Intelligence Unit, UK)

The Political Instability Index 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. The index covers the period 2009/10, and scores are compared with results for 2007.   More...


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Cowen - Average is Over Steger - Globalization Stieglitz - Globalization Chossudovsky - Globalization of Poverty

Tyler Cowen (2013)
Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of
the Great Stagnation.
Dutton Adult

Manfred Steger (2013)
Globalization: Avery Short Introduction.
Oxford University Press

Joseph E. Stiglitz (2003)
Globalization and Its Discontents.
W.W. Norton & Company

Michel Chossudovsky (2003)
The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order.
Global research

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Conflict, war, terrorism

The Military Balance  (International Institute for Strategic Studies - IISS, UK)

The Military Balance is the IISS annual assessment of the military capabilities and defense economics of 171 countries worldwide. It list each country€™s military organization, personnel numbers, equipment inventories, and relevant economic and demographic data. Regional and select country analyses cover the major developments affecting defense policy and procurement, and defense economics.   More ...

Commentary: The full report (The Military Balance 2014) is rather expensive.

Global Militarization Index  (Bonn International Center for Conversion, Germany)

The Global Militarization Index (GMI) attempts to objectively depict worldwide militarization since 1990. The index compares a country€™s military expenditure with its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its health expenditures. It contrasts the total number of military and paramilitary forces in a country with the number of physicians. Finally, it studies the number of heavy weapons available to a country€™s armed forces. These and other indicators are used to determine a country€™s ranking.   More ...

Armed Conflict Database  (International Institute for Strategic Studies - IISS, UK)

The Armed Conflict Database (ACD) monitors armed conflicts worldwide, focusing on political, military and humanitarian trends in current conflicts, whether they are local rebellions, long-term insurgencies, civil wars or inter-state conflicts.   More ...

Comment: Data available only through rather expensive subscription.

Global Peace Index (Vision of Humanity, Institute for Economics and Peace, New York, Sidney)

The Global Peace Index ranks the nations of the world according to 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators of peace. The index measures levels of internal and external conflict, safety of citizens, and levels of militarization. The lower the score, the more peaceful the country.   More ...   More ...

Global Terrorism Index (Vision of Humanity, Institute for Economics and Peace, New York, Sidney)

The Global Terrorism Index measures the impact of terrorism in 158 countries. To account for the lasting effects of terrorism, each country is given a score that represents a five year weighted average. More ...  

Global Firepower Ranking (globalfirepower.com)

Index ranking of (non-nuclear) military strength of more than 100 countries.

Comment: More for entertainment than serious research.


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Singer - Cybersecurity

Singer - Wired for War

Whittle - Predator

Sekulow - ISIS

P.W. Singer / Allan Friedman (2014) Cybersecurity and Cyberwar. What Everyone needs to know.
Oxford University Press

P.W. Singer (2009)
Wired for War. The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
Penguin Books

Richard Whittle (2014)
Predator. The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution.
Henry Holt & Co.

Jay Sekulow / Jordan Sekulow (2014) Rise of ISIS. A Threat We Can't Ignore.
Howard Books

Morell - The Great War of Our Time McChrystal - Team of Teams Gates - Duty Stakelbeck - ISIS

Michael Morell (2015)
The Great War of Our Time. The CIA's fight against terrorism - from al Qa'ida to ISIS. Twelve

Gen. Stanley McCrystal et al. (2015) Team of Teams. New rules of engagement for a complex world. Portfolio

Robert M. Gates (2015)
Duty. Memoirs of a Secretary
of War. Vintage Reprint Ed.

Erick Stakelbeck (2015)
ISIS Exposed. Beheadings, slavery, and the hellish reality of radical Islam. Regnery Publishing

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Information & computer technology; media

The Networked Readiness Index (World Economic Forum; Switzerland, USA, China)

The Networked Readiness Index measures, on a scale from 1 (worst) to 7 (best), the performance of 148 economies in leveraging information and communications technologies to boost competitiveness and well-being. 

Ranking (pdf)
The Global Information Technology Report (pdf)

ICT Development Index (International Telecommunication Union - ITU)

The ICT Development Index (IDI) ranks 155 countries€™ performance with regard to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and uptake. Worldwide ICT Data (EXCEL)...   More ...

Global Cyber Security Index (International Telecommunication Union - ITU)

Ranks the cyber security capabilities of nation states. It measures cyber security within five categories: legal measures, technical measures, organizational measures, capacity building and cooperation

World Internet Usage (Miniwatts Marketing Group, USA)

Data on Internet user, Internet penetration and Facebook subscribers from various sources for all countries of the world.

Web Index (World Wide Web Foundation)

Taking the format of an 81 country ranking, the Web Index is the world€™s first measure of the World Wide Web€™s contribution to development and human rights globally. Scores are given in the areas of access; freedom and openness; relevant content; and empowerment. First released in 2012, the 2013 Index has been expanded and refined to include 20 new countries and features an enhanced data set, particularly in the areas of gender, Open Data, privacy rights and security. First released in 2013.  
Web Index Structure ...


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Carr - The Shallows

Nicholas Carr (2011)
The Shallows. What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.
W.W. Norton & Company

Clive Thompson (2014)
Smarter Than You Think.
How technology is changing
our minds for the better.
Penguin Books

Manuel Castells (2012)
Network of Outrage and Hope. Social movements in the Internet Age. Politi

The Washington Post (2013)
NSA Secrets. Government spying in the Internet Age.
Amazon Digital Services

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Culture, religion, ethnicity, language

World Values Survey (World Values Survey Association)

The World Values Survey is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life, led by an international team of scholars, with the WVS association and secretariat headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.
The survey, which started in 1981, seeks to use the most rigorous, high-quality research designs in each country. The WVS consists of nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries which contain almost 90 percent of the world’s population, using a common questionnaire.

More ...

Index of Linguistic Diversity (Terralingua, USA)

The Index of Linguistic Diversity is the first-ever quantitative measure of global trends in linguistic diversity. It measures changes in the number of mother-tongue speakers of a globally representative sample of the world€™s languages. More ...

Global Religious Diversity Index (Pew Research, USA)

Ranking of more than 200 countries by religious diversity. More ...

Religiosity and Atheism Index (WIN-Gallup, International)

The Religiosity and Atheism Index measures global self-perceptions on beliefs. It is based on interviews with more than 50,000 men and women selected from 57 countries across the globe in five continents. More ...

Anti-Semitism Index (Anti-Defamation League, USA)

The index, comprised of 11 questions, was developed by researchers at the University of California to be used in public opinion surveys to provide an analytical tool for identifying respondents who harbor anti-Semitic attitudes and for measuring general acceptance of various negative Jewish stereotypes. The index is based on surveys in more than 100 countries.


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Goldberg - 100 People Bennoune - Your Fatwa Joas - Cultural Values Inglehart - Modernization

Bernard Goldberg (2005)
100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is #37). Harper

Karima Bennoune (2014)
Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here. Untold stories from the fight against Muslim Fundamentalism. W.W. Norton

Hans Joas / Klaus Wiegandt (Eds.) The Cultural Values of Europe. Liverpool University Press.

Ronald Inglehart / Christian Welzel (2005)
Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy. The human development sequence. Cambridge University Press

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Food, nutrition, agriculture

Food Production Index (The World Bank)

The food production index covers food crops that are considered edible and that contain nutrients. Coffee and tea are excluded because, although edible, they have no nutritive value.

Livestock Production Index (The World Bank)

The livestock production index includes meat and milk from all sources, dairy products such as cheese, and eggs, honey, raw silk, wool, and hides and skins.

Global Hunger Index (International Food Policy Research Institute - IFPRI, USA)

To reflect the multidimensional nature of hunger, the GHI combines three equally weighted indicators in one index number: Undernourishment: the proportion of undernourished as a percentage of the population; child underweight: the proportion of children younger than the age of five who are underweight, which is one indicator of child under-nutrition; and child mortality: the mortality rate of children younger than the age of five - partially reflecting the fatal synergy of inadequate dietary intake and unhealthy environments.

Global Food Security Index (Economist Group, UK. Sponsored by Du Pont)

Using a definition adapted from the 1996 World Food Summit, the Global Food Security Index considers the core issues of affordability, availability, and quality across a set of 107 countries. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative scoring model, constructed from 27 unique indicators, that measures these drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries.  More ...   More ...

Comment: Apparently, the index data can be downloaded only after registration and for only one country at a time.

Global Database on Body Mass Index (WHO, Geneva)

The global epidemic of overweight and obesity is rapidly becoming a ajor public health problem in many parts of the world. Paradoxically coexisting with under-nutrition in developing countries, the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity is associated with many diet-related chronic diseases. This database provides both national and sub-national adult underweight, overweight and obesity prevalence rates by country, year of survey and gender. More ...


Science, education & training

Top 50 Business Schools (Business Insider, USA)

Nearly 10,000 survey participants rated the reputation of the graduates from top business schools around the world on a scale of poor to excellent (1 to 5), with excellent ratings used as a tiebreaker.

All 50 Business Schools
Infographic: The worlds top 25 business schools

Academic Ranking of World Universities (Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has been focusing on the study of world-class universities for many years, published the first Chinese-language book titled world-class universities and co-published the first English book titled world-class universities with European Centre for Higher Education of UNESCO.

World University Ranking (Times Higher Education, TSL, London, UK)

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014 powered by Thomson Reuters are the only global university performance tables to judge world class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The top universities rankings employ 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.



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Bill Nye (2014)
Undeniable. Evolution and the science of creation.
St. Martin's Press

Stephen Hawking (1998)
A Brief History of Time.

Fareed Zakaria (2015)
In Defense of a Liberal Education.
W. W. Norton

Ben Shapiro (2004)
Brainwashed. How universities indoctrinate America's youth. Thomas Nelson.


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World University Ranking (U.S. News, USA)

Institutions from the U.S. and nearly 50 other countries have been ranked based on 10 indicators that measure their academic research performance and their global and regional reputations. These are the world's top 500 universities.


List of Nobel Laureates by Country of Birth (The Official Web Site of the Nobel Price)

This website provides the names and birth places of all Nobel price laureates since 1901. The information is also available by price category (physics, chemistry, medicine or physiology, literature, peace and economic sciences.

Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment (The Economist, UK)

The Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment compares the performance of 39 countries and one region (Hong Kong) on two categories of education: Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment.
The indicators used in this Index are: (1) Cognitive Skills: PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS scores in Reading, Math and Science), (2) Educational Attainment: literacy and graduation rates. More ...   More ...   More ...

Space Competitive Index (Futron / Avasecent, TSL, London, UK)

Futron's Space Competitiveness Index provides annual statistical benchmarks, analysis, and business intelligence into national space activities. The report's insights into the underlying drivers of aerospace competitiveness – Government, Human Capital and Industry – offer intelligence and perspective useful to any space decision-maker.
Comment: Only available for a very high price.

Purchasing Options



Climate Change Performance Index (Germanwatch)

The Climate Change Performance Index is an instrument supposed to enhance transparency in international climate politics. Its aim is to encourage political and social pressure on those countries which have, up to now, failed to take ambitious actions on climate protection as well as to highlight countries with best-practice climate policies. On the basis of standardized criteria, the index evaluates and compares the climate protection performance of 58 countries that are, together, responsible for more than 90 percent of global energy-related CO2 emissions. 80 percent of the evaluation is based on objective indicators of emissions trend and emissions level. 20 percent of the index results are built upon national and international climate policy assessments by more than 200 experts from the respective countries.

Climate Change Performance Index 2015 (pdf)
CCPI - Tables and Maps (pdf)
CCPI - Background and Methodology (pdf)

Real-time Air Quality Index (aqicn.org, Beijing, China)

Real-time Air Quality Index for many countries and cities of the world.

Commentary: Fabulous! Why did none of the large international environmental organizations come up with such an obvious application?

Environmental Performance Index (Yale University / Columbia University, USA)

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks how well countries perform on high-priority environmental issues in two broad policy areas: protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems.  More ...   More ...   More ...

Commentary: The index does not include important aspects of environmental harm, such as toxic chemical exposures, heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury) exposures, nuclear safety issues, pesticide use, or freshwater quality (organic and industrial pollutants). Results, particularly for China, may thus be biased.

Disaster Occurrence and Impact by Country (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters - CRED, Universite Catholoque de Louvain, Belgium)

The EM-DAT database contains data and statistics on natural and technological disaster occurrence and their impact for the different periods: 1900-2010, 1970-2010 and 1991-2010. They are all based on the data available at the OFDA/CRED International Disasters Database (EM-DAT). The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has arranged and provided such information according to country and thematic aggregations, as requested by the UN/ISDR secretariat.

Comment: Go to "advanced search" to download data for all countries of the world in one step. These data can be used to rank countries according to disaster occurrence and disaster impact.

AQASTAT - water-related Indicators (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, FAO)

This database has statistical information on water resources, water use, irrigation and drainage development, water conservation agriculture and water harvesting, as well as indicators related to water and health. Data can be retrieved for all countries of the world and all periods since the 1960s.

Commentary: The interface is not easy to use, but to my knowledge this is the best water-related database available.

Environmental Vulnerability Index (South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission - SOPAC, United Nations Environment Programme - UNEP)

The Environmental Vulnerability Index is among the first of tools now being developed to focus environmental management at the country level. The index utilizes 50 indicators to capture the key elements of environmental vulnerability, including climate change, biodiversity, water, agriculture and fisheries, human health aspects, desertification and exposure to natural disasters.   Results report ...   Technical report ...   Data Table ...

Commentary: The index has major shortcomings. Due to the long list of rather specific indicators included, data availability (and probably quality) is poor. Not surprisingly, some of the results appear to be rather strange. For instance, Austria has an EVI value of 369 and is therefore considered "extremely vulnerable". Botswana, on the other hand, has a value of 181 and is identified as being "resilient" (which is the highest category). However, according to the BBC country profile, Botswana .. "is sparsely populated, because it is so dry. The Kalahari desert, home to a dwindling band of bushman hunter-gatherers, makes up much of the territory and most areas are too arid to sustain any agriculture other than cattle". (BBC)

World Risk Index (Alliance Development Works; UNU-EHS; Universität Bonn; Germany)

The World Risk Index, which was published for the first time in 2011, calculates this disaster risk for 171 countries worldwide. The Index consists of indicators in the four components of exposure towards natural hazards such as earthquakes, cyclones, flooding, drought and sea level rise, susceptibility depending on infrastructure, food, housing and economic framework conditions, coping capacities depending on governance, risk reduction, early warning, healthcare, social and material coverage and adaptive capacities related to future natural hazards and the impacts of climate change. The Index is established per country via multiplying exposure to natural hazards with vulnerability, which comprises the above-mentioned three components.

The World Risk Report (pdf)
Methodology (pdf)
Indicators (pdf)


Other Indexes and Rankings

Good Country Index (Simon Anholt, Robert Govers, France)

The idea of the Good Country Index is to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away. Using a wide range of data from the U.N. and other international organizations, we’ve given each country a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between. 

Simon Anholt
Robert Govers

Global Energy Architecture Performance Index (World Economic Forum; Switzerland, USA, China)

The New Energy Architecture initiative of the World Economic Forum strives to better understand the changes underway in the global energy system, and how they can be managed to enable an effective transition. A core pillar of this work has been the development of the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index.

Full Report (pdf)

Global Open Data Index (Open Knowledge, United Kingdom)

The Global Open Data Index is an initiative of Open Knowledge based on contributions from open data advocates and experts around the world. Each year, governments are making more data available in an open format. The Global Open Data Index tracks whether this data is actually released in a way that is accessible to citizens, media and civil society and is unique in crowd-sourcing its survey of open data releases around the world. Each year the open data community and Open Knowledge produces an annual ranking of countries, peer reviewed by our network of local open data experts. The Global Open Data Index measures and benchmarks the openness of data around the world.

About the index
About Open Knowledge



Morten Jerven (2013): Poor Numbers: How We are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It? Cornell University Press

Zachary Karabell (2014): The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World.
Simon & Schuster

Margaret O'Leary (2004): Measuring Disaster Preparedness: A Practical Guide to Indicator Development and Application. IUniverse

Michael D. Dulberger (2013): America's Ranking Among Nations: A Global Perspective of the United States In Graphic Detail.
Bernan Press

The Worldwatch Institute (2014): State of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability.
Island Press

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Copyright © 2014 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved.

Updated: 10 July 2014