How do you build a better place ?

The Better Place Index (BPI) is a global measure for peace, prosperity and sustainability

An Analytical Platform for Research and Policy


The BPI identifies if governments are doing a good job.

The BPI measures which countries are successful in creating economic welfare, good health, low crime and a better environment. Based on macro indicators, it then ranks the countries.

The Index also explains why some countries are more successful than others. Many research institutes, think-tanks and academics focus on one aspect; institutions, civic norms or economic development. This project takes into account that all these variables make a difference; that they are all important, albeit in different ways and to different degrees.

Idea behind the project

The idea behind this project started when its Director – on a visit to Papua New Guinea - was asked the very simple question; “how do you build a better place?"

The research team believe the answer is through facts and data – and also, of course, through values. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau also took this view: “Statisticians, the business is now yours; count, measure and compare”.

Why it all began

There are many other indices, many of which are very useful and interesting, but the team believe they have some limitations to these:

The UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) does not include the environment, and some of its other measures are based on second-hand information, which is difficult to verify.

The OECD’s Better Life Index is interesting but it is limited to rich countries, so it won't cover Bougainville and other transitional countries.

The Legatum Institute developed the Prosperity Index, but it is based on many measures and on expert assessments, which can be biased.

The World Bank’s The Worldwide Governance Indicators ranks countries with respect to six aspects of good governance: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Violence, Government Effectiveness, Rule of Law, Regulatory Quality, and Control of Corruption. The assumption that all of these factors are important, is a hypothesis that has yet to be conclusively proven.

Multivariate Regression Model

These are the factors that are most conducive to a good BPI since 2010. Technically these are B-coefficients in a multivariate regression analysis; a technique that allows you to measure the effects of many things that are conducive to a “better place”.

Having a proportional electoral system is most important. Equality is the second most important, and the percentage of women in parliament and taxation regime are the least important.


The Better Place Index aims to provide an analytical platform for academics and policymakers to reference or commission in reaching decisions about Research, Policy or Investment.