The 2019 Berggruen Governance Index evaluates countries on the basis of their quality of political governance. To do this, the Index disaggregates governance into three key components: Quality of Democracy (Inputs), Quality of Government (Throughputs) and Quality of Life (Outputs). By disaggregating the capacities of governance, the Index attempts to deepen understanding of the relationship between the democratic feedback, government competence and the provision of public goods.
The Index evaluates 38 countries using the three indices composed of 27 sub-indices measured across a 14-year time span between 2004 and 2018. The 38 countries selected represent about 2/3 of global GDP and 3/4 of the global population.
The top performers are the usual suspects. Western and Northern Europe, Canada and the US, Australia – all fare quite well. But the interesting insights do not arise from looking at the overall rankings but at evaluating the relative position of any given country across the three indices. For example, some countries rank higher on Quality of Life than they do on Quality of Democracy. The explanation for why a country is able to produce better than expected outputs (Q of L), despite meagre inputs (Q of D) , most likely lies in a strong competence among the sub-indices the make up the Quality of Governance. For countries, the index offers a flexible tool to identify real or potential strengths and weaknesses, and serves as a point of departure for either building on what works or diagnosing and adjusting what does not.
There is a tacit assumption in the democratic world, that high levels of democracy will produce the best Quality of Life, but the Index exposes deeper insights into the actual relationship between them and the importance of government competence and capacity. In so doing, the Index seeks to catalyze a shift in perspective when it comes to how we think about and measure “good” governance.