We are pleased to introduce the 2010 Legatum Prosperity Index™, the world’s only global assessment of wealth and wellbeing. The Index provides a framework for assessing global prosperity that we hope will be of use to policymakers, scholars, businesses, and the globally curious for years to come.
Now in its fourth year, this edition builds upon previous versions with expanded data and analysis. In our continuous effort to improve the Index using advances in research and data availability, this year’s Index features some significant changes from the 2009 Index. The rest of this report provides information on the details and implications of these changes.
The Prosperity Index is unique. It starts with a holistic definition of prosperity that includes both material wealth and quality of life, and then employs a rigorous set of estimation methods to determine which factors matter most to a nation’s overall prosperity. Most people would intuitively agree that “prosperity” is not just about money but also about quality of life.
The Prosperity Index is the first global index that provides an empirical basis for this belief, in addition to measurements of how well each country promotes prosperity. The Prosperity Index seeks to understand how economic fundamentals, health, freedom, governance, safety, education, entrepreneurial opportunity, and social capital influence a country’s economic growth and the happiness of its citizens. It finds that successful countries enjoy a “virtuous cycle” of economic liberty and growth, political freedom and good governance, and enterprising and happy citizens, which mutually reinforce each other on the path to prosperity.
Rather than replicating other measurements that rank countries by their actual levels of wealth, life satisfaction, or development, the Prosperity Index produces rankings based on the foundations of prosperity. These are the factors that help drive economic growth or produce happy citizens in a given country.
This summary report provides the country rankings, a number of key findings, and background on how the Index was created. More information on the Prosperity Index, including data sources, profiles of each country, and interactive tools for further exploration, can be found at www.prosperity.com.
The Prosperity Index is the signature annual report of the Legatum Institute and is central to our ongoing inquiry into the nature of prosperity and the pathways of successful countries. The Legatum Institute is a London-based global think tank that promotes political, economic, and individual liberty around the globe, with a special focus on developing and transitioning countries.
We hope that you find the 2010 Prosperity Index engaging and thought-provoking. For the Legatum Institute, the quest to understand the foundations of prosperity and the principles of successful countries is an enduring investigation that we will seek to improve with every edition. We welcome any comments or feedback that may help improve our understanding.
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