The Most Effective Governments of Asia

Which are the most well-functioning and most effective governments in Asia?


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Map of the effectiveness of Asian governments.

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The Worldwide Governance Indicators Project reports annually on 6 key governance indicators based on views of a large number of enterprise, citizen and expert survey respondents. One of those indicators is the government effectiveness. The government effectiveness is based on the perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies.

This map looks at how effective governments and their governance in Asia are. Governance is defined as the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised. This includes the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced; the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies; and the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them.

The most effective government in Asia and also in the world, is Singapore. Although the global top 20 is dominated by European countries, four Asian countries did make it into the global top 20. The highest-ranking Asian country after Singapore, is Hong Kong (12th with a score of 1.66). The underlying data of this index is from 2020. The effects of the Hong Kong protest and the National Security Law haven’t had its full effect on Hong Kong’s score yet. Although Hong Kong’s score has already dropped, we can sadly expect to see it drop even more in the coming years.

The other two Asian countries that made it into the global top 20 are Japan (1.6) and Taiwan (1.59). Brunei, South Korea and the UAE also received a high score.

On the other end of the spectrum, we can also see some very low scoring countries in Asia. Although the bottom of the ranking is dominated by African countries, the second place from the bottom of the ranking, is occupied by Yemen (208th with a score of -2.31). Unsurprisingly, war-torn Syria and Afghanistan also didn’t score very well. Most of the countries with a low score in Asia are located in the Middle East and Central Asia.

If you’re curious how effective European governments are, check out this map.

The data for this map comes from the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI). They report aggregate and individual governance indicators for over 200 countries and territories for six dimensions of governance:

  • Voice and Accountability
  • Political Stability and Absence of Violence
  • Government Effectiveness
  • Regulatory Quality
  • Rule of Law
  • Control of Corruption

These aggregate indicators combine the views of a large number of enterprise, citizen and expert survey respondents in industrial and developing countries. They are based on over 30 individual data sources produced by a variety of survey institutes, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and private sector firms.

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