Global Peace Index
The Global Peace Index is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. It is maintained by the Economist, an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks, together with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, Australia. The list was launched in May 2007, and is claimed to be the first study to rank countries around the world according to their peacefulness. The study is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea and is endorsed by individuals such as the Dalai Lama, archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former US president Jimmy Carter. Factors examined by the authors include internal factors such as levels of violence and crime within the country and factors in a country's external relations such as military expenditure and wars.
The research team was headed by The Economist Intelligence Unit in conjunction with academics and experts in the field of peace. They measured countries' peacefulness based on wide range of indicators, 24 in all. A table of the indicators is below. In the table, UCDP stands for the Uppsala Conflict Data Program maintained by the University of Uppsala in Sweden, EIU for The Economist Intelligence Unit, UNSCT for the United Nations Survey of Criminal Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, ICPS is the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College London, IISS for the International Institute for Strategic Studies publication The Military Balance 2007, SIPRI for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Arms Transfers Database, and BICC for the Bonn International Center for Conversion.
|1||Number of external and internal wars fought||UCDP||2000 to 2005||Total number|
|2||Estimated deaths due to external wars||UCDP||2004 to 2005||Total number|
|3||Estimated deaths due to internal wars||UCDP||2004 to 2005||Total number|
|4||Level of organized internal conflict||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
|5||Relations with neighbouring countries||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
|6||Level of distrust in other citizens||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
|7||Number of displaced persons as percentage of population||World Bank||2003||Refugee population by percentage of the origin country's population|
|8||Political instability||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
|9||Level of respect for human rights (political terror scale)||Amnesty International||2005||Qualitative measure|
|10||Potential for terrorist acts||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
|11||Number of homicides||UNSCT||2004 and 2002||Intentional homicides, including infanticide, per 100,000 people|
|12||Level of violent crime||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
|13||Likelihood of violent demonstrations||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
|14||Number of jailed persons||ICPS||2006||Persons incarcerated per 100,000 people|
|15||Number of police and security officers||UNSCT||2002 and 2000||Civil security officers per 100,000 people|
|16||Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP||IISS||2004||Cash outlays for armed forces, as a percentage of GDP|
|17||Number of armed services personnel||IISS||2004||Full-time military personnel per 100,000 people|
|18||Imports of major conventional weapons||SIPRI||2001 to 2005||Imports of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people|
|19||Exports of major conventional weapons||SIPRI||2001 to 2005||Exports of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people|
|20||United Nations deployments||IISS||2006 to 2007||Total number|
|21||Non-United Nations deployments||IISS||2006 to 2007||Total number|
|22||Number of heavy weapons||BICC||2003||Weapons per 100,000 people|
|23||Ease of access to small arms and light weapons||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
|24||Military capability or sophistication||EIU||2007||Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5|
Indicators not already ranked on a 1 to 5 scale were converted by using the following formula: x=(x-Min(x))/(Max(x)-Min(x)) where Max(x) and Min(x) are the highest and lowest values for that indicator of the countries ranked in the index. The 0 to 1 scores that resulted were then converted to the 1 to 5 scale. Individual indicators were then weighted according to the research team's judgment of their importance. The scores were then tabulated into two weighted sub-indices: internal peace, weighted at 60% of a country's final score, and external peace, weighted at 40% of a country's final score.
The main findings of the Global Peace Index are:
- Peace correlated to indicators such as income, schooling and the level of regional integration
- Peaceful countries often shared high levels of transparency of government and low corruption
- Small, stable countries which are part of regional blocks are most likely to get a higher ranking.
Statistical analysis was applied to discover more specific drivers of peace. Specifically, the research team looked for indicators that were included and excluded from the index that had high levels of correlation with the overall score and rank of countries. Among the statistically significant indicators that were not used in the analysis were the functionality of a country's government, regional integration, hostility to foreigners, importance of religion in national life, and GDP per capita.
Notably absent from the study are Belarus, Iceland, many African nations, Mongolia, North Korea and Afghanistan. They were not included because reliable data for the 24 indicators was not available.
Criticism and response to criticism
The Economist, in publishing the index, admitted that, "the index will run into some flak." Specifically, according to The Economist, the weighting of military expenditure "may seem to give heart to freeloaders: countries that enjoy peace precisely because others (often the USA) care for their defense." However, the magazine goes on to argue that this specific indicator only comprises about 3% of the weighting and the true utility of the index may lie not in its specific rankings of countries now, but in how those rankings change over time, thus tracking when and how countries become more or less peaceful.
The Peace Index has been criticised for not including indicators specifically relating to violence against women and children. Riane Eisler, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, argued that, "to put it mildly, this blind spot makes the index very inaccurate." She mentions a number of specific cases, including Egypt, where she claims 90 percent of women are subject to genital mutilation, China, where, she says, "female infanticide is still a problem," and Chile, where 26% of women, "suffered at least one episode of violence by a partner, according to a 2000 UNICEF study."
The Index has received endorsements from a number of major international figures, including the Dalai Lama, archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former United States President Jimmy Carter. Steve Killelea, the Australian philanthropist who conceived the idea of the Index, argues that the Index, "is a wake-up call for leaders around the globe."
2007 Global Peace Index rankings
Nations considered the most peaceful have lower index scores.
|38||United Arab Emirates||1.747|
|75||Bosnia and Herzegovina||2.089|
|82||Republic of Macedonia||2.170|
|88||Papua New Guinea||2.223|
|94||Trinidad and Tobago||2.286|
- All information in indicator table from "Global Peace Index: Indicators". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- In this case, a conflict is defined as, "a contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in a year."
- Excludes militia and national guard forces.
- This includes, "cash outlays of central or federal government to meet the costs of national armed forces—including strategic, land, naval, air, command, administration and support forces as well as paramilitary forces, customs forces and border guards if these are trained and equipped as a military force."
- This includes transfers, purchases, or gifts of aircraft, armoured vehicles, artillery, radar systems, missiles, ships, engines
- Weapons defined in four categories: armoured vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft, major fighting ships.
- "Global Peace Index: Methodology". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- >First Global Peace Index Ranks 121 Countries, PP Newswire
- "Global Peace Index: Drivers of Peace". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Charles, Deborah (May 30, 2007). "New Peace Index Ranks US Among Worst Nations". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-08-09. Check date values in:
- "Give peace a rating". The Economist. May 31, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-09. Check date values in:
- Eisler, Riane (July 26, 2007). "Dark underbelly of the world's most 'peaceful' countries". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2007-08-09. Check date values in:
- "Endorsers for GPI". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
- "Global Peace Index Launched Today" (PDF). Press Release (Note:This link is to a PDF document). Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
- All information in the index table from "Rankings". Global Peace Index. Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2007-08-09.