The lottery of life – Where to be born in 2013

No Comments » November 23rd, 2012 posted by // Categories: Nigeriawatch



 

My People:

 

Quick Summary on Where-to-be-born Index 2013 vis-a-vis 1988 (25 years later):

1988 – Nigeria:  47th out of 50 countries; Score: 43%; Highest Score: 93%; Country with HS: USA  (Switzerland: 13th, 72%, tied with Norway)

2012 – Nigeria: 80th out of 80 countreis: Score: 4.74   Highest Score: 8.22 Country with HS: Switzerland (USA: 16th, 7.38, tied with Germany)

 

Not very good outcome.  In fact, not good at all.

And there you have it.

 

 

Bolaji Aluko

 

 


http://www.economist.com/news/21566430-where-be-born-2013-lottery-life

International

The lottery of life

Where to be born in 2013

Nov 21st 2012 | from The World In 2013 print edition

 

Warren Buffett, probably the world’s most successful investor, has said that anything good that happened to him could be traced back to the fact that he was born in the right country, the United States, at the right time (1930). A quarter of a century ago, when The World in 1988 light-heartedly ranked 50 countries according to where would be the best place to be born in 1988, America indeed came top. But which country will be the best for a baby born in 2013?

To answer this, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a sister company of The Economist, has this time turned deadly serious. It earnestly attempts to measure which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead.

Its quality-of-life index links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys—how happy people say they are—to objective determinants of the quality of life across countries. Being rich helps more than anything else, but it is not all that counts; things like crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life matter too. In all, the index takes 11 statistically significant indicators into account. They are a mixed bunch: some are fixed factors, such as geography; others change only very slowly over time (demography, many social and cultural characteristics); and some factors depend on policies and the state of the world economy.

 

 

A forward-looking element comes into play, too. Although many of the drivers of the quality of life are slow-changing, for this ranking some variables, such as income per head, need to be forecast. We use the EIU’s economic forecasts to 2030, which is roughly when children born in 2013 will reach adulthood.

Despite the global economic crisis, times have in certain respects never been so good. Output growth rates have been declining across the world, but income levels are at or near historic highs. Life expectancy continues to increase steadily and political freedoms have spread across the globe, most recently in north Africa and the Middle East. In other ways, however, the crisis has left a deep imprint—in the euro zone, but also elsewhere—particularly on unemployment and personal security. In doing so, it has eroded both family and community life.

 

 

What does all this, and likely developments in the years to come, mean for where a baby might be luckiest to be born in 2013? After crunching its numbers, the EIU has Switzerland comfortably in the top spot, with Australia second.

Small economies dominate the top ten. Half of these are European, but only one, the Netherlands, is from the euro zone. The Nordic countries shine, whereas the crisis-ridden south of Europe (Greece, Portugal and Spain) lags behind despite the advantage of a favourable climate. The largest European economies (Germany, France and Britain) do not do particularly well.

America, where babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation, languishes back in 16th place. Despite their economic dynamism, none of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) scores impressively. Among the 80 countries covered, Nigeria comes last: it is the worst place for a baby to enter the world in 2013.

Boring is best

Quibblers will, of course, find more holes in all this than there are in a chunk of Swiss cheese. America was helped to the top spot back in 1988 by the inclusion in the ranking of a “philistine factor” (for cultural poverty) and a “yawn index” (the degree to which a country might, despite all its virtues, be irredeemably boring). Switzerland scored terribly on both counts. In the film “The Third Man”, Orson Welles’s character, the rogue Harry Lime, famously says that Italy for 30 years had war, terror and murder under the Borgias but in that time produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance; Switzerland had 500 years of peace and democracy—and produced the cuckoo clock.

However, there is surely a lot to be said for boring stability in today’s (and no doubt tomorrow’s) uncertain times. A description of the methodology is available here: food for debate all the way from Lucerne to Lagos.

Laza Kekic: director, country forecasting services, Economist Intelligence Unit


 

http://www.economist.com/news/21567049-how-we-calculated-life-satisfaction-lottery-life-methodology

International

The lottery of life methodology

How we calculated life satisfaction

Nov 21st 2012 | from The World In 2013 print edition

The life satisfaction scores for 2006 (on scale of 1 to 10) for 130 countries (from the Gallup Poll) are related in a multivariate regression to various factors. As many as 11 indicators are statistically significant. Together these indicators explain some 85% of the inter-country variation in life satisfaction scores. The values of the life satisfaction scores that are predicted by our indicators represent a country’s quality of life index. The coefficients in the estimated equation weight automatically the importance of the various factors. We can utilise the estimated equation for 2006 to calculate index values for year in the past and future, allowing for comparison over time as well across countries.

The independent variables in the estimating equa­tion for 2006 include: material wellbeing as measured by GDP per head (in $, at 2006 constant PPPS); life expect­ancy at birth; the quality of family life, based primarily on divorce rates; the state of political freedoms; job se­curity (measured by the unemployment rate); climate (measured by two variables: the average deviation of minimum and maximum monthly temperatures from 14 degrees Celsius; and the number of months in the year with less than 30mm rainfall); personal physical security ratings (based primarily on recorded homicide rates and ratings for risk from crime and terrorism); quality of community life (based on membership in so­cial organisations); governance (measured by ratings for corruption); gender equality (measured by the share of seats in parliament held by women).

We find that GDP per head alone explains some two thirds of the inter-country variation in life satisfaction, and the estimated relationship is linear. Surveys show that, even in rich countries, people with higher incomes are more satisfied with life than those with lower incomes. However, over several decades there has been only a very modest upward trend in average life satisfaction scores in developed nations, whereas average income has grown substantially. The explanation is that there are factors associated with development that, in part, offset the positive impact. A concomitant breakdown of traditional institutions is manifested in the decline of religiosity and of trade unions; a marked rise in various social pathologies (crime, drug and alcohol addiction); a decline in political participation and of trust in public authority; and the erosion of the institutions of family and marriage.

Laza Kekic: director, country forecasting services, Economist Intelligence Unit


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