Thursday, January 22, 2009

Commitment to Development Index

Here's another interesting index to consider: The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) which measures seven areas where the developed world can contribute to the development of nations that are less well off.

The seven areas included in the index are:

• Quality and quantity of foreign aid
• Openness to developing-country exports
• Policies that influence investment
• Migration policies
• Environmental policies
• Security policies
• Support for creation and dissemination of new technologies


Short article from The Economist here.

Description of the index from the Center for Global Development here (plus a whole lot of other good info).

1 comment:

  1. The US finishes in the bottom 25% of developed countries in the CDI for 2008.

    That said, let's take a closer look at the CDI and its components. Some of the score is justified, such as when one considers the amount of greenhouse gases the US emits annually, governmental failure to curb future emissions, and other harmful policies that damage the global commons. And US aid, based on the size of our economy, pales in comparison to its north European counterparts.

    However, the CDI fails to account for some of the political reality this side of the Atlantic. For starters, much "aid" from the US comes from private donors, religious groups, and foundations, who provide foreign aid to developing countries. On migration policy, Austria ranks 1st and the US 9th, but the ranking fails to account for the fact that Austria has a negative growth rate and must have an aggressive migration policy to provide labor for the present and future. The US, on the other hand, still has a sustainable population growth rate and therefore doesn't need to pursue aggressive migration policies. Additionally, after 9/11 and the immigration debate in this country over the last three years, lawmakers who pursue an aggressive migration policy may be viewed as weak on security.

    And finally, the CDI considers peacekeeping operations sponsored by the UN and NATO in determining countries' rankings on security. Unfortunately, the US does not score well b/c of its arms sales to totalitarian regimes and dictatorships, among them Saudi Arabia. The CDI fails to account for the fact that the US is the world's policeman and broker, and while the good people of Denmark and Norway might send a couple of hundred peacekeepers to conflicts, these same countries are not in a position to influence or broker peace in the Middle East or in other war-torn regions or hotspots b/c they lack the hard and soft powers necessary to effectively contribute. It would seem a better measure of security if the CDI measured the number of times state department envoys were sent to dispel conflicts, or economic sanctions imposed, etc.