Thursday, February 10, 2011

Arab "Shoe-Thrower's" Index

A strange name for an index of unrest in the Arab world, as if all Arabs throw their shoes in protest. Still an interesting article in The Economist, along with a graph of indexes of instability in Arab nations. It shows Yemen and Libya as more unstable than Egypt. I was surprised to see Oman right after Iraq on the list.

The article mentions that "Some factors are hard to put a number on and are therefore discounted. For instance, dissent is harder in countries with a very repressive secret police (like Libya). The data on unemployment were too spotty to be comparable and so this important factor is discounted too. We took out the Comoros and Djibouti, which do not have a great deal in common with the rest of the group, and removed the Palestinian territories, Sudan and Somalia for lack of data. The chart below is the result of ascribing a weighting of 35% for the share of the population that is under 25; 15% for the number of years the government has been in power; 15% for both corruption and lack of democracy as measured by existing indices; 10% for GDP per person; 5% for an index of censorship and 5% for the absolute number of people younger than 25."

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