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International Political Economy 1500-1800 words on create a “best country index” (BCI)


Your task:

Based on your advanced international expertise, you have been hired to offer advice. Your major objective is to create a “best country index” (BCI). Your BCI should identify several (at least 6) measurable indicators of a country’s “bestness”. These could include such things from life expectancy to GDP per capita to Starbucks per square mile. It is your job to choose the indicators used in determining this award. After creating the BCI and analyzing the data, your report should include an announcement of the following awards:

  • Best country in the world
  • Worst country in the world
  • Most overrated country in the world

Format of your report:

Your report should include the following:

  1. Explain how the chosen indicators determine which country is best. Why was each indicator chosen, and how does it illustrate “bestness” or “worstness”?
  2. Use Gapminder and other sources to visually compare different countries in the world using your selected indicators.
  • Using the Gapminder world tool, construct a separate graph for each of your chosen indicators. http://www.gapminder.org/world (Links to an external site.)
    • Suggestions for using Gapminder:
      • Show your different chosen indicators on the vertical axis of each separate graph.
      • Keep the horizontal axis constant for each graph (it can make them easier to compare). In most cases, keep what it starts with, which is GDP/capita. If you choose to change this, you should be able to explain why.
      • Use the most current year for which adequate data exists (sometimes you may have to go back a few years to get adequate data)
      • Use the Gapminder country selection tool (check box for selected countries in menu on right) to highlight your chosen countries (best, worst, overrated) for each of the indicators chosen
      • Save the file (or take a screen shot)
      • Include at least a few of these graphs in your report. [note: these graphs/charts do not count toward the 3-4 page limit. You may include them as attachments to your report.]
      • If you need help in how to use Gapminder, please view the lecture “Gapminder – How to Use” in the Week 1 module in Canvas.
    • Note: you may use data, graphs, and charts from other sources than Gapminder. If you do, you should highlight and note each of your 3 chosen countries on those graphs. You should also make sure to cite sources of any data used if data comes from somewhere other than Gapminder.
  1. Provide a short statement of why each country chosen deserves the award, using the selected indicators as criteria.
  2. What IPE paradigms are illustrated by your Best Country Index (BCI)? Please include a summary of any trends, patterns, or correlations in considering past themes and ideological perspectives of the class.
  3. Citation of authors and a convincing interpretation/analysis that demonstrates sophisticated knowledge of the readings and course materials. This means that you are required to quote directly from at least 2 readings. You may refer to assigned readings as well as related articles of your choice.


  • Three (3) to four (4) double-spaced, typewritten pages for your response (10 -12 point font, 1” margins), or about 1500-2000 words.
  • Include quotes from at least two sources, citing sources. Also cite sources of data used if comes from another source than Gapminder.

What makes a country “the best country in the world”? Many people and politicians assert their country is the best. We International Political Economists have the tools and analytical skills to rise above this! here are many ways to answer this question.

There are many ways to answer this question. How could you use measurable indicators to determine which country in the world is best?


Have you thought about how the 200 countries could be ranked or compared? One example is offered by policy advisor Simon Anholt, who has created an index that measures how much “good” is done by different countries (in relation to other countries in the world). Watch the TED talk video:

http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_anholt_which_country_does_the_most_good_for_the_world (Links to an external site.)

Anholt has also constructed an index that rates how people in different nations think about other nations, called the Nation Brands Index. You can interact with it at the website:

http://www.simonanholt.com/Research/research-introduction.aspx (Links to an external site.)

The analysis and conclusions of Anholt are given as just one example of how to rank or compare countries. How would you do it?


After graduating with a major in International Studies (what else?), you are hired as a policy analyst at the prestigious Charles Maynard Peynes Institute (CMPI). CMPI is a new organization, a rival to the Nobel Committees of Sweden and Norway, charged with bestowing international awards to countries. CMPI will begin its mission by bestowing an annual “Best Country Award”.

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