• The Quest for Prosperity: Shaping the future of our regions [PDF]
  • By Legatum Prosperity Index™
  • October 2017
  • Published by the Legatum Institute


Prosperity is more than just material wealth. Prosperity is a product of both economic
and social wellbeing. Prosperity means that citizens are able to have good health, access to quality education, strong and safe communities and opportunities to start a business or get ahead.

This paper has been prepared by the Legatum Institute and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. It examines prosperity in six key markets: Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK (the “key markets”). These countries were chosen because they are where the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand have offices and a significant number of members are based there.

The Legatum Prosperity Index™

For the last decade the Legatum Institute has examined what makes countries prosperous around the world. In this paper we take a broad view of national success, or more simply, prosperity. We consider national progress through the lens of the Legatum Prosperity Index™ (the Prosperity Index). The Prosperity Index looks at both economic and social progress in 149 countries globally through nine pillars (see figure 1). It is a powerful means of promoting a discussion about living standards.

Across the nine pillars, it uses both objective and subjective data to capture the full richness of a prosperous life. It is one of the few global indices to reflect both the creation of wealth, and its use. Some pillars are economic: these relate to the contribution of the economy, businesses and regulation towards national prosperity. Some pillars are institutional: they measure the health of institutions in society that are necessary to manage conflicts, protect freedom, and enable citizens to participate in public life. The final group comprises the social pillars. These pillars are about the outcomes and quality of people’s lives. It includes a nation’s security and citizens’ safety, the opportunity to be educated, the strength of trust and relationships, the health of a population, and the natural environment. All these pillars make up prosperity.

This paper looks at different aspects of prosperity in each of these pillars. It focuses on particular topics or countries to examine features of prosperity within and across the key markets. The key findings for each pillar are as follows:

Economic Quality: The key markets perform very well under this heading in the global rankings. Malaysia has improved the most. However, four out of six key markets have seen scores fall.

Business Environment: Again, this is an area of strong performance for the key markets. Hong Kong and Singapore are strong performers and, although Malaysia’s performance is somewhat weaker than the other countries, from a global perspective Malaysia is still a strong performer.

Governance: There is a wide variance of performance on this pillar. Australia, New Zealand and the UK lead the scores. Malaysia comes last. Malaysia and Australia have seen the greatest declines in the last 10 years. Education: The three top performing countries are Australia, Singapore and the UK. Not only are New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia the weakest performers, their scores have declined over the last ten years.

Health: Singapore is the clear leader in Health; and Malaysia falls much further behind. All key markets have improved since 2007, with the exception of Malaysia.

Safety and Security: With the exception of Malaysia, the key markets all perform very strongly in terms of safety and security. Malaysia has experienced the largest decrease.

Personal Freedom: New Zealand, Australia and the UK show much higher scores than Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. In particular, Hong Kong has seen the most dramatic decline in personal freedoms.

Social Capital: Australia and New Zealand have the strongest social capital; but both have seen declines since 2007. Malaysia has seen the largest increase. Hong Kong and Singapore are both relatively weak and Singapore has seen a decrease over the decade.

Natural Environment: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK perform strongly on environmental quality and have similar scores. Hong Kong is the furthest behind, but has also seen the greatest increase over the decade, primarily because of increased satisfaction with preservation efforts.

Overall, the key markets perform strongly across a range of pillars. Nevertheless, prosperity can always be improved; and in our conclusion, we identify two major challenges for each country and means of addressing them.

Read the paper here.