How do the 20 nations in the 2011 rugby competition perform in promoting equality, fairness and the common good? How well do they strive for a ‘win-win’ outcome for their citizens and the rest of the world? We looked at seven different ways of measuring equality or fairness. These measures or ‘social indicators’ and our sources are explained below.
On each measure (where available), we ranked the nations with 1 representing the fairest or most equal. We then compiled the country rankings across all indicators to arrive at an overall ranking for each nation. Where there were gaps in the data, some rankings were surmised based on other data or information. Where a ranking on an individual indicator could not be determined or was not applicable, it’s been left out of the equation, so it didn’t affect the overall ranking.
See the results on our Rankings page. But remember, these only indicate what we think. Who do you think is the FAIRest of them all? What measures of fairness and equality would you choose?
Follow our blog, and join us in the debate. More on our indicators of social equality below.
Income Inequality means some people earn a lot more than other people. The degree of inequality in a country (or region) can be measured by something called the ‘Gini coefficient’. On a scale from 0-100, a score of 0 means perfect equality – everyone has the same income. A score of 100 means the worst inequality – one person (or group) has all the income, and everyone else has nothing. So the lower the Gini, the more equally income is shared around. Usually, less developed countries have greater income inequality.
We used Gini figures from the United Nations’ Human Development Report (HDR) 2010. There were no Gini figures from the HDR for the Pacific countries competing, nor individually for England, Scotland and Wales. However, we have included a separate score for Scotland, based on a Scottish government report. Poverty.org.uk confirms that both Scotland and Wales have lower levels of inequality than the United Kingdom as a whole.
(For a clear explanation of how the Gini number is calculated, visit: The Gini Coefficient — But Don’t Run! by Arsen Darnay.)
Gender Inequality has been measured on a similar scale (0-100), with lower numbers representing greater equality. The figures come from the Gender Inequality Index of the HDR 2010, which does not rank the Pacific countries. However, information from the Gender-related development index from HDR 2007/08 has been used to give an indication of where Tonga, Samoa and Fiji sit relative to other countries.
Happy Planet Index combines environmental impact with well-being – as measured by general life satisfaction and life expectancy. It indicates the relative efficiency with which nations use the planet’s natural resources to produce long and happy lives for their citizens. We have taken it as an indicator of fairness across generations – ensuring that more resources and a healthy environment remain available for future generations.
Military Spending is expressed as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Information was sourced from the World Bank, except for Tonga, sourced from the CIA World Factbook.
The Global Peace Index (GPI) attempts to measure the relative position of nations’ peacefulness. It has been developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) using data collated by the Economist Intelligence Unit and in consultation with peace experts. It includes internal factors such as levels of violence and crime within the country, as well as a country’s external relations such as military expenditure and wars.
We have included both levels of military spending and the Peace index among our indicators, because studies show positive relationships between the level of inequality in a country and its crime rates, as well as belligerence in international affairs.
Transparency has been measured by the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which defines corruption as ‘the misuse of public power for private benefit’. It analyses the perceived levels of corruption within a country and is developed on an annual basis by Transparency International, using sources such as the African and Asian Development Banks, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the World Bank. A high value indicates less perceived corruption and more transparency and openness in society. We have included this indicator because corruption restricts fair access to basic services such as education and health. It also negatively impacts upon the functioning of a fair and equitable justice and political system.
The Overseas Development Aid figures are relevant only for the richer nations – member nations of the OECD. The international target – set in the 1970s, and reaffirmed in 2000 – is that developed nations should give 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) in overseas aid. Sadly, none of the rugby nations come close to that. Figures are for 2010, sourced from the Development Cooperation Directorate (DAC) of the OECD.