The WeekLI

The WeekLI


The Legatum Prosperity Index™ looks at how prosperity is forming and changing across the world

The UK Prosperity Index goes beyond traditional measures to give a rich picture of life in the UK.

The Czech Republic delivers greater prosperity than expected given its wealth.


Each week we feature an aspect of Legatum Institute’s work. This week we look at our Prosperity Index.

The Legatum Institute is committed to promoting policies that lift people from poverty to prosperity. We want to ensure the legacy we pass on to the next generation is one of increasing prosperity and human flourishing. This pursuit goes beyond the material; we believe that true prosperity is a combination of economic and social well being.

More people now lead prosperous healthy lives than at any other point in human history.  Despite this progress and decades of investment by governments and private philanthropists, significant and extreme poverty still exists in the world.

We know, thanks to data from the Legatum Prosperity Index™, that communities and countries grow and develop through economic opportunity and social strength. We believe this comes about through a combination of good governance, free trade, cultural transformation, education and an enabling business environment – systemic nation-building.

Recognising the importance of accurate data when making decisions that affect people’s lives, we are committed to using the world-class data we are producing, such as the Prosperity Index, to help create policies that will lift people out of poverty and see them flourish.


The Legatum Prosperity Index™ is a powerful tool, housed within our Centre for Metrics, that shows us how prosperity is forming and changing around the world. This provides a greater understanding of those nations that are becoming more prosperous as well as those that are becoming less prosperous and, crucially, what lessons we can draw from them.

The index is based on an updated methodology developed over the last 2 years with input from world leading advisers including Nobel Laureate, Angus Deaton. It measures prosperity across 149 countries looking at a variety of categories: Economic Quality, Business Environment, Governance, Education, Health, Safety and Security, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, and Natural Environment.

Below, we highlight ten key findings, exploring some of prosperity’s biggest winners and losers, the trends in global prosperity, and its distribution within and between countries.

Read more about The Legatum Prosperity Index™ here


1. Global prosperity is at its highest point in the past decade.

After a lacklustre performance during the 2008 and 2009 global financial crisis, global prosperity has risen to unprecedented levels.

2. Across the world, the Index captures a notable “Commonwealth Effect”.

The Commonwealth delivers greater prosperity, and greater prosperity given its wealth, than the global average.

3. The UK is good at developing prosperity, but not so good at sharing it.

Britain is flourishing however, prosperity created is not prosperity shared. The opportunity for flourishing is not yet delivered for all.

4. China and India: Biggest drivers of prosperity.

That the biggest gains have been made by poorer countries is unsurprising, but China and India stand out. Together they account for almost 40% of the growth in global prosperity over the past decade.

5. Disconnect between people’s confidence in government and expert-based evidence.

For the most part, subjective data align with objective data. However, there are cases where subjective and objective data diverge. One example is the relationship between survey responses on people’s confidence in their national government and expert-based objective assessments of government effectiveness.

6. The world has never been more free, but some regions are freer than others.

While most people enjoy more Personal Freedom than they did in 2007, the improvement has been regionally uneven.

7. Venezuela is the biggest prosperity loser.

Venezuela has seen the biggest decline in prosperity over the past decade showing that good governance, not just resources, are required for the creation and distribution of prosperity.

8. Global prosperity inequality is falling as the less prosperous grow faster than the prosperous.

The gap between the most prosperous and the least prosperous countries has fallen since 2007.

9. Prosperity grows rapidly from peace. Countries like Yemen (149th) and Afghanistan (148th) demonstrate that conflict has a devastating impact on prosperity. However, there is a more positive story. When peace comes, a rapid flourishing of prosperity is possible.

10. Social Capital stars in the developing world.

Significant improvements in Social Capital have been recorded over the past ten years in Indonesia, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, and Mongolia.

Read more about the key findings here


The UK Prosperity Index goes beyond traditional measures to give a rich picture of life in the UK.

Like the Legatum Prosperity Index™ the UK Prosperity Index assesses how prosperous a place is using a combination of economic and social wellbeing measurements.

It uses the same model and methodology, though different variables, as the Global Prosperity Index to map prosperity across at 389 UK local authority areas. It provides a unique insight into how prosperity is distributed across the UK.

The Index does this by looking at prosperity through seven sub-indices: Economic Quality, Business Environment, Education, Health, Safety & Security, Social Capital and Natural Environment.

This Index is the most comprehensive and detailed compilation of nationally accepted data available.

“We in society prosper when we are helped to break free of the life we wouldn’t otherwise have chosen. Whether we’re helped to break free from a life of slavery, poverty, or hunger, our ability to improve our life chances is what allows us, ultimately, to prosper.”

Frank Field, MP

View the UK Prosperity Index here


The Africa Prosperity Report uses the Global Prosperity Index data to draw together detailed analysis of the shape of prosperity across this dynamic and emerging continent. It also aims to strengthen the use of detailed metrics in national policy making, by improving the availability and use of data .

For the first time, the third edition of the Africa Prosperity Report looked not only at prosperity, but the delivery of prosperity by sub-Saharan nations given their level of wealth. The report compares this to the level of prosperity that could be expected at different wealth levels, to see which countries are doing more with their wealth, and which less.

The report finds that three key things determine a country’s ability to turn its wealth into prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa: economic diversification, good governance (in particular strong institutions), and high levels of personal freedom. Less diverse economies, for example oil states or countries in conflict where governance and freedoms break down are more likely to have large prosperity deficits.

Rwanda proves the best at turning its wealth into prosperity. Despite having a GDP per capita of just $1661, it ranks 8th overall in Africa. This significant prosperity surplus is the result of institutional reform following the end of the civil war.

Oil-rich Angola proves one of the worst at delivering prosperity. Despite being one of the wealthier countries in Africa (GDP per capita of $6949), its over-reliance on one industry (oil) and poor track record on civil liberties means it ranks just 33rd for prosperity on the continent.

Read the full report here


The Czech Republic has made modest improvements in its delivery of prosperity over the past ten years and remains in the global top 30 for prosperity.

The Czech Republic ranks 27th in the 2016 Prosperity Index, having moved up one rank since 2007. It is the third best performing member of the former Eastern bloc, following Slovenia and Estonia.

Its strongest performance comes in Education, followed by Economic Quality. Governance has improved only slightly over the past decade, while its biggest improvement comes in Business Environment.

Read more here

Overall, the Czech Republic delivers greater prosperity than expected given its wealth, having grown its prosperity surplus over the past decade.

We will be releasing our Central and Eastern Europe Prosperity Report, in partnership with Erste Bank, later this year. 

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