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There is a Positive Relationship Between Peace and GDP per Capita – And Some Interesting Exceptions

January 2, 2013

This graph shows the relationship between global peace index- and GDP (nominal) per capita ranking for 145 countries, 2012.

A low peace index ranking is associated with more peace (Iceland has the lowest ranking and Somalia has the highest), whereas a low GDP per capita ranking means more wealth (Luxembourg is number one and Democratic Republic of Congo is bottommost).

Global_peace_index_rank_GDP_per_capita_rank_2012Global peace index rank source: Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), it is based on 23 indicators. GDP per capita source: International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It can be seen that there is a positive relationship between peace and GDP per capita. This might be interpreted as an argument in favor of peace promoting activities or, depending on the direction of causality, a reason for additional focus on growth policy. Perhaps most likely these two variables reinforces each other back and forth.

Some notable deviations from the relationship exists. The following countries are poor but are still relatively peaceful. (I credit my friend Viktor Ostlund for coming up with the idea of making this comparison) Score is calculated as GDP per capita ranking + [lowest peace ranking=157 – peace ranking for country]; so a poor country with a low peace index (i.e. is peaceful) will score high.

It can be seen that Malawi, followed by Mozambique and Sierra Leone, has the highest score. The flip side version of this list is the wealthy countries with a high peace index ranking (i.e. are not very peaceful).


Israel, Russia and Libya top this list.

What factors, if any, do countries within these two groups have in common respectively? Are there distinct between group differences? Please make a comment if you have an explanation.

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