The Inclusive Development Index 2018

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GDP growth remains the primary focus of both policymakers and the media as the standard measure of economic success. However, most citzens evaluate their respective countries’ economic progress by changes in their households’ standard of living, a combination of factors encompassing income, employment opportunity, economic security, and quality of life. Designed as an alternative to GDP, the Inclusive Development Index (IDI) reflects more closely the criteria by which people evaluate their countries’ economic progress.

Overall 5-Year Economic Trends


One of the measures of the Inclusive Development Index (IDI) is the 5-year IDI trend, which highlights the economic direction of a country - whether it is receeding, advancing or remaining stable. Trends are based on percentage change between 2012 and 2016.

Let's get a snapshot of the situation as of 2018:

  • Worryingly, many Western/Developed European countries are exhibiting receeding economies.
  • Portugal, France, Italy, and Norway are all slowly receeding, with Spain and Finland receeding at quicker rates.
  • The US has an advancing economy, Canada stable, based on IDI indicators.
  • Some very positive takeaways are the advancing economies of developing countries like Mongolia, India, and Pakistan.
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IDI Score and Trends - Advanced Economies


Note: IDI scores are based on a 1-7 scale, with 1 being the worst and 7 the best. We split up the analysis between advanced and emerging economies because the IDI scores of the respective groups are not strictly comparable due to different definitions of poverty.

  • Norway is the best performing advanced economy in 2018.
  • Measured by its 2018 IDI score against the 5-year Trend, Iceland is the strongest performer.
  • Smaller European countries clearly dominate the index.
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5-Year IDI Trend Ranking - Advanced Economies

  • Norway comes in first in the rankings, followed by Iceland and Luxembourg - all small European countries.
  • Australia, at 9th, is the only non-European advanced economy in the top 10.
  • Spain, Portugal, Itay and Greece, some of the worst-impacted countries during the global crisis, make up the tail-end of the rankings.
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Economic IDI Score vs GDP per Capita - Advanced Economies

  • Unsurprisingly, for advanced economies, GDP per capita exhibits some correlation with a country's overall IDI score - again we see small European countries dominating the upper-right-hand corner of the graph.
  • European periphery countries - Italy, Portugal and Greece (all slowly receeding) - have lower IDI scores and comparatively low GDP per capita.
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Economic IDI Score vs GDP per Capita - Emerging Economies

  • For emerging economies, European countries perform much stronger that their Asian and African counterparts.
  • GDP per capita seems more weakly correlated with IDI performance among emerging economies - likely due to individual indicators like life expectancy and labor productivity.
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Economic IDI Score and Trend by Continent

  • Unsurprisingly, we see European countries make up the majority, if not all, countries in the upper-right-hand corner.
  • Oceania countries, Australia and New Zealand, are also strong performers.
  • Large economic powerhouses like the UK and the US sit firmly in the middle of the pack.
  • The lower-left-hand corner is dominated by African countries, with Mozambique being the worst performer.
  • The Ukraine is the worst-performing European country in the analysis.
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