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What Do Global Metrics Tell Us about the World?

School of Public Policy, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, 629 K St NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 136;
Received: 17 April 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 1 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Contemporary Politics and Society)
PDF [8468 KB, uploaded 20 May 2019]


There are now a wide variety of global indicators that measure different economic, political and social attributes of countries in the world. This paper seeks to answer two questions. First, what is the degree of overlap between these different measures? Are they, in fact, measuring the same underlying dimension? To answer this question, we employ a principal component analysis (PCA) to 15 indices across 145 countries. The results demonstrate that there is one underlying dimension that combines economic development and social progress with state stability. Second, how do countries score on this dimension? The results of the PCA allow us to produce categorical divisions of the world. The threefold division identifies a world composed of what we describe and map as rich, poor and middle countries. A five-group classification provided a more nuanced categorization described as: The very rich, free and stable; affluent and free; upper middle; lower middle; poor and not free. View Full-Text
Keywords: global indices; global metrics; global society; new global geographies; principal components analysis global indices; global metrics; global society; new global geographies; principal components analysis

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Short, J.R.; Vélez-Hagan, J.; Dubots, L. What Do Global Metrics Tell Us about the World? Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 136.

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