politics : culture : economics

Turkey trails the world on social capital

In Economy, Society, Turkey on October 26, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Another week, another set of global rankings to test Turkey’s self-image. This time it’s the ‘Prosperity Index’ produced by the Legatum Institute, the 2010 edition of which was published on October 25th.

Despite the index’s name, and the fact that Legatum is a hedge fund, the rankings aren’t narrowly focused on financial performance. They are based on a wide-ranging set of indicators, which are grouped into the eight sub-indices listed in the table below.

Turkey’s overall position in the 2010 ranking is 80th out of 110 countries. This is unchanged from the position it held in 2009. On the eight sub-indices, Turkey performed as follows:

Sub-index Ranking
Economy 69th
Entrepreneurship 53rd
Governance 51st
Education 82nd
Health 57th
Safety and security 83rd
Personal freedom 95th
Social capital 108th

Source: Legatum Institute, 2010 Prosperity Index

The numbers that jump out are the abysmal rankings for personal freedom and social capital. In particular, the latter (which measures social cohesion and engagement, as well as the extent of family and community networks) is shocking. Of the 110 countries covered by the index, only two (Pakistan and Bangladesh) fared worse than Turkey. Here are some of the factors that contributed to this result:

  • Turkey ranks 97th on interpersonal trust (this is something I’ve touched on before), charitable donations and volunteering
  • It comes 80th in terms of the number of people reporting having helped a stranger within the prior month
  • 55 per cent of the population reported attending a religious service within the prior week
  • Rankings on family networks are paradoxical—Turkey has the 13th highest level of marriage, but is among the 10 lowest-ranking countries in terms of people feeling they can rely on family and friends in times of need

For more about Turkey’s performance, and about the Prosperity Index generally, follow the links below.

The 2010 Prosperity Index overall rankings
Two-page summary of Turkey’s results (PDF)
Methodological and Technical documents (both PDF)

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  1. Some rather strange results; esp. the one about not being able to rely on friends and family, because Turks have tight-knit families. Perhaps it’s because the study measures perception rather than something objective?

  2. Not so strange that a couple of months ago PEW published a list how people trusted their fellow countrymen: Turkey on the last place, only 15% of the Turks trust each other.

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