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Winners and Losers

Which Countries are Successful and Why?

Matt Qvortrup

The aim of this short book is to understand which countries do well on key indicators and why. After a short philosophical and historical survey of the literature to put the book into context, the Better-Place Index is developed. This is subsequently tested against a number of policy variables, such as levels of taxation, immigration, and democratic institutions, and other measures. The book provides statistical evidence that these factors are correlated with higher scores on the Better Place Index.

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This short book was written during the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020. The aim was to bring together objective and neutral data and evidence on when countries are successful or not. The short book combines sociology, economics and political science and makes use of statistics to develop the Better Place Index: a measure of success. The book is a snapshot of how things were at a particular period in time. Nothing is static. It is possible that other countries would be winners in the future. Readers who are interested in the methodology and more detailed statistics of each country can look at website, which provides all the information. It can be found at: <>

The work on the book was made possible through a generous grant from Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace, and I would like to thank Dr Scherto R. Gill for facilitating this. The author is also grateful to Mr Mason Waters, my research assistant whose expertise in statistics was invaluable. Chief Simon Pentanu deserves praise for inspiring this study. Further, I want to thank my colleagues Michael Hardy OBE, Richard Dickson, and the Chancellor of my University Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE for support and spirited conversations. I am also grateful to Jens Kromann Kristensen of the World Bank for help and advice. Lastly, I am indebted to Mr Anthony Mason from Peter Lang for facilitating the publication of this short book. The usual caveat applies.

London, 10 February 2021.←xiii | xiv→

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