A Unique Indicator of Economic Development–Luminous Flux

Or light. Below you will find a fascinating map from the World Resources Institute, (which is a great website, featuring information on such matters as renewable fresh water resources, literacy rates, and other phenomena that are found at the “intersection of the environment and human needs.”

world_city_lights.gif

Here is a description of the map:

“The National Geophysical “city lights” database depicts stable lights and radiance calibrated lights of the world (which includes lights from cities, towns, industrial sites, gas flares, fires, and lightning illuminated clouds). A high concentration of city lights is especially found in industrialized densely populated regions such as western Europe, Japan, and the U.S.. Alternatively, few “city lights” are shown in economically poorer and sparsely populated regions (e.g. central and northern Africa and South America). Moderate “city lights” are found in several densely populated “developing countries” (e.g. India, Indonesia, eastern Brazil, and South Africa). The “city lights” data may be used a proxy for population distribution or infrastructure (e.g. in which it may be assumed that the occurrence of few city lights is correlated with the presence of institutional, political, and industrial infrastructure).”

The Failed States Index by the Fund for Peace

Here is another great resource compiled by the Fund for Peace. The Failed States Index tracks the stability of, at last count (2007) 177 states around the world on the basis of twelve indicators, grouped into social, economic and political categories. Some of the specific indicators are demographic pressures, a legacy of vengeance, uneven economic development and the rise of factionalized elites. Once again, there is a wealth of information and data at the Fund for Peace website, which goes beyond the Failed States Index. Here is a map based on data from 2007:

failed_states_index_2007.jpg

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Transparency International Corruption Index

Here’s another excellent source of information from an NGO, Transparency International, that investigates, writes about, and collects data dealing with corruption. This NGO puts out an annual Transparency Index, listing countries around the world with respect to the level of corruption in each.

What is Transparency International?

Transparency International, the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption, brings people together in a powerful worldwide coalition to end the devastating impact of corruption on men, women and children around the world.
TI’s mission is to create change towards a world free of corruption.

Transparency International challenges the inevitability of corruption, and offers hope to its victims. Since its founding in 1993, TI has played a lead role in improving the lives of millions around the world by building momentum for the anti-corruption movement. TI raises awareness and diminishes apathy and tolerance of corruption, and devises and implements practical actions to address it.

Here is a link to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), and Bribe Payers Index (BPI), among others. There is a wealth of information on this site related to corruption.

Afrobarometer–Key Findings

The very first Afrobarometer Briefing Paper–here’s the link to a PDF version–(April 2002) presents some key findings regarding the views of African residents in about a dozen African countries on phenomena such as democracy, freedom, governance, etc. Here are a few I found interesting:

  • Corruption is seen as pervasive

Whereas about one-half of survey respondents think that corruption among public officials is common (52 percent), about one-third think it is rare (35 percent). Perceived corruption is highest in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, and lowest in Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. Generally, however, people perceive more corruption than they themselves have personally experienced. Such perceptions, and the social inequalities they reflect, tend to corrode satisfaction with economic reform policies and with democracy.

In class, I use the module on economic and political development as an opportunity to ask students if they have ever tried to bribe an official for any reason whatsoever. The answer amongst my mostly suburban-bred American students is a unanimous “no.” Generally only I (and sometimes a foreign student) raise our hands to answer in the affirmative. I try to impress upon the students that bribery and corruption is a normal part of life in most non-Western countries. In most citizens’ dealings with official (read: governmental and quasi-governmental) institutions, bribing at least one official is absolutely necessary to get anything done.

Continue reading “Afrobarometer–Key Findings”

Afrobarometer Public Opinion Surveys

The Afrobarometer survey allows public access to its data, with a two-year time lag. From a description found on its home page, the Afrobarometer is “a comparative series of public attitude surveys on democracy, markets, and civil society in Africe.” The site is full of resources, in addition to the data, such as publications (including downloadable working papers), results, news and events.

afrobarometer1.jpg

Here are the countries surveyed and the years for each:

Country
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Other
Benin
2005
Botswana
1999
2003
2005
Cape Verde
2002
2005
Ghana
1999
2002
2005
1997
Kenya
2003
2005
Lesotho
2000
2003
2005
Madagascar
2005
Malawi
1999
2003
2005
Mali
2001
2002
2005
Mozambique
2002
2005
Namibia
1999
2003
2006
2002
Nigeria
2000
2003
2005
2001, 2007
Senegal
2002
2005
South Africa
2000
2002
2006
1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2004
Tanzania
2001
2003
2005
Uganda
2000
2002
2005
Zambia
1999
2003
2005
1993, 1996
Zimbabwe
1999
2004
2005