Sunday, September 17, 2006

Voice & accountability in Singapore lowest in 10 years

According to the World Bank, voice and accountability in Singapore is at its lowest in 10 years, as measured against a sample of 213 countries. In its 2006 report on governance, Singapore scored 38.2 in the category, meaning that it beat only 38.2% of all the countries surveyed on this measure. Singapore had scored highs of 63.8 in 2002 and 59.1 in 1996, but has seen its rating fall drastically in the last three years.

The World Bank defines voice and accountability as the extent to which a country’s citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free media. I'm still digging into the World Bank's comprehensive website on the survey to see if I can find the exact reason for the decline, but by any measure, the result looks pretty dire.

Meanwhile, I pulled a couple of interesting charts from the site. First, a chart comparing the voice and accountability scores of 20 East Asian countries. At a glance, one can imagine calls of "Look at Taiwan! Look at South Korea! Do we want to be like them?!"

Now let's look at the same chart for 20 OECD countries. Will we then say "Look at Switzerland, Australia, UK and Japan! We do want to be like them!" Food for thought. Click here for a basic table of the World Governance Indicators for each country.

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