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Arab unrest index
The Shoe-Thrower's index
Feb 9th 2011, 14:50 BY THE ECONOMIST ONLINE
An index of unrest in the Arab world
IN THIS week's print edition we ran a table showing a number of indicators for members of the Arab League. By adding a few more and ascribing different weights to them we have come up with the Shoe-Thrower's index, which aims to predict where the scent of jasmine may spread next. Some factors are hard to put a number on and are therefore discounted. For instance, dissent is harder in countries with a very repressive secret police (like Libya). The data on unemployment were too spotty to be comparable and so this important factor is discounted too. We took out the Comoros and Djibouti, which do not have a great deal in common with the rest of the group, and removed the Palestinian territories, Sudan and Somalia for lack of data. The chart below is the result of ascribing a weighting of 35% for the share of the population that is under 25; 15% for the number of years the government has been in power; 15% for both corruption and lack of democracy as measured by existing indices; 10% for GDP per person; 5% for an index of censorship and 5% for the absolute number of people younger than 25. Jordan comes out surprisingly low on the chart, which suggests the weighting might need to be tweaked. Post suggestions in the comments below and we will refine it.
You can build your own revolutionary index using our
interactive shoe-thrower's index.

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