An Index of Constructive External Engagement (ICEE)

June 05, 2013

Traditional measures of development divide the world into categories such as developed and developing, rich and poor, and North and South. While indexes such as CGD’s Commitment to Development Index (CDI) can be useful for roughly defining which countries contribute the most to helping the world’s poorest, it is more difficult to account for rising countries like Brazil, China, and India that are improving their commitments to a to a more fair and prosperous global order. Which countries are going above and beyond in their commitments to global citizenship?

In this paper, David Roodman puts CDI methodology toward a new Index of Constructive External Engagement (ICEE) that better evaluates which countries are improving their level of global engagement. The new index deemphasizes the CDI variables that focus on helping the world’s poorest in favor of the CDI’s trade, environment, and security components, which are arguably more relevant for the global engagement of emerging powers.

The results? While wealthy countries are already the most engaged global citizens on the international stage, poorer countries such as India, Saudi Arabia, and Spain are closing the gap. ICEE’s placement of rich and poor countries in the same boat shifts the focus from which states are helping poor others to the broader question of how all nations should cooperate to create a more just and prosperous world.

Data disclosure: data underlying this analysis are available for download in an Excel workbook and an SQL database.

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