Monday, November 10, 2014

Legatum Prosperity Index for Latin America

I happened across this prosperity index by the Legatum Group, which is focused on investment. What's funny is that I saw it on TeleSur, which quoted it uncritically despite Venezuela's poor showing. From that article, this interest seems to stem from the fact that the index tries to view "prosperity" in much broader terms than just GDP growth (so, for example, Chile ranks lower than Uruguay even though its economic growth is better). It has eight different ranked variables.

For Latin America, such indices generally show similar results. Uruguay is in great shape (1st in Latin America, 30th in the world) and Venezuela is in terrible shape (100th in the world, one place worse than Rwanda). Chile (33rd) and Costa Rica (34th) are also high. Panama is right up there as well (41st). Honduras is the worst in Latin America (105th overall) and it has been getting steadily worse each year.

As with any index, you take it with a grain of salt. At the very least, though, they're useful in sparking discussions about comparative progress in the region, especially in terms of how different areas can be high and others low. Eocnomic growth without improvements in education, health, etc. is not really prosperity.


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