Disclosure: Legatum is a funder of Global Integrity.
The Legatum Institute launches its second annual Prosperity Index, a sweeping aggregation of data on what makes a country successful, including both material wealth and life satisfaction.
Legatum describes it thus:
Q: What is the Legatum Prosperity Index?
A: The Prosperity Index is an inquiry into the nature of prosperity and how it is created. We define prosperity holistically to include both material wealth and quality of life. Rather than replicating other measurements that rank countries by their actual levels of material wealth or life satisfaction, the Index produces a ranking based on the conditions that foster prosperity — that is, the factors that promote economic competitiveness and improved liveability in a given country. We refer to these factors as drivers of prosperity and to those that impede prosperity, as restrainers. The Index endeavours to rank countries according to the strength of these drivers and restrainers, not according to simple measures of income and life satisfaction. In this way we hope to contribute to a richer analysis of what promotes prosperity globally.
Legatum Prosperity Index 2008: Full report; Rankings; FAQ.
Legatum here is putting out a smart, somewhat unpackable index that helps ground some very fuzzy notions of prosperity in empirical data. This isn’t an action-oriented tool in same way as a policy scorecard might be (good luck improving your “pleasant climate” score!), but it makes up for it with sweep — they cover a lot of ground, and allow the index to be unpacked by issue: only care about entrepreneurship, innovation or economic openness? There’s global (albeit third-party) data on each.
We should also call your attention to “the Properiscope“, a data visualization tool that, at least for us, is good for a couple hours of clicking around. It’s like fantasy football for governance wonks.