Failed States and Development

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Earlier this week, Foreign Policy released the latest edition of its Failed States Index (via Daily Dish's Patrick Appel). It's based on a database of 12 indicators of state cohesion and performance for 177 nations. So my colleague Charlotta Mellander decided to compare it to our Prosperity Institute economic development database which has a wide range of indicators for output, productivity, human capital innovation, life satisfaction, human development, and economic structure. The findings, while not particularly surprising, are nonetheless interesting. FP asks:

"[W]ho (or what) is to blame when things go bad--corrupt leaders, dysfunctional societies, bad neighbors, a global recession, unfortunate history, or simply geography itself? "

The simple answer that comes from our analysis is development - or lack of it. Failed states not only fail on state cohesion and performance, they also fail on measures of economic development -  from output or GNP per capita and total factor productivity to human capital, life satisfaction, and more. And failed states apparently lag badly on the transition to knowledge-driven, creative economies.


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Richard Florida is Senior Editor at The Atlantic and Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto. See his most recent writing at The Atlantic Cities. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative Class, Who's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He is founder of the Creative Class Group.

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