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Singapore Ranks Third Globally in Index of Good Government

Singapore, 28 April 2022: The second edition of the Chandler Good Government Index (the “CGGI”, or the “Index”) launched today in Singapore, with Singapore ranking third globally. Designed by the Chandler Institute of Governance (CIG), the CGGI is the world’s most comprehensive index of effective national government. It shows the importance of investing time and energy into enhancing the skills of public servants and the structures they operate within, to allow delivery of a better and more sustainable future. This year’s edition builds on the success of the first report, and comes at a critical time as governments around the world look to recover from the pandemic.

Based on over 50 open data sources, the CGGI is a principled and data-driven way to understand the capabilities and outcomes of 104 governments across the world, and almost 90% of the world’s population. The index focuses on seven pillars – Leadership & Foresight; Robust Laws & Policies; Strong Institutions; Financial Stewardship; Attractive Marketplace; Global Influence & Reputation; and Helping People Rise. The rigorous methodology of the Index was developed in consultation with government practitioners, leaders, index experts, and researchers in governance. The process was conducted independently, without any discussions with, or financial support from, the Singapore Government.

Similar to the 2021 CGGI, Singapore performed strongest globally in the areas of Financial Stewardship and Attractive Marketplace. This demonstrates the Singapore government’s strong capabilities in fiscal policy, public financial management, and budgeting, as well as highlighting the conducive business and investment environment in the country. Additionally, Singapore also took the top spot for Helping People Rise, highlighting the emphasis Singapore places on ensuring social mobility for its people.

European nations feature prominently in the top 20, with Finland holding onto the top position and Switzerland ranking second. Other APAC nations in the top twenty include New Zealand (9th); Japan (15th); Australia (17th); and South Korea (joint 19th).

The top 20 countries in the CGGI 2022 are as follows:

Singapore’s results by pillar are as follows:

Top 10 Asia-Pacific countries (East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia) are as follows:

(= connotes a joint ranking with another country)

The Index – developed by government practitioners, for government practitioners – has been designed to be a practical tool for enhancing good governance. It enables governments, with their own unique economic and political situations, to assess and benchmark their capabilities and performance. The Index report provides analyses and examples of relevant and impactful policy and effective service delivery around the world.

Key Findings of the 2022 CGGI:

Good governments are more prepared for pandemics and other crises

Released during the pandemic, the Index allows us to assess how governance affects a nation’s crisis preparedness and responses. The 2022 CGGI shows that countries with good governance were better prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, conducted more tests per capita, and generally experienced fewer excess deaths per capita. Because many government capabilities – such as planning, budgeting and policy design – can be deployed to manage different challenges, the CGGI highlights the role of better governance in how nations deal with other pressing issues such as climate change and regional instability, during these increasingly turbulent times.

Good governance is closely linked to social mobility and social progress

Overall CGGI country rankings are closely linked to the degree of social mobility and social progress countries experience. In turn, social mobility is key for long-term cohesiveness and harmony within nations. The Index suggests that the most capable governments are those which foster the greatest social mobility, and social mobility increases the opportunities for every citizen to prosper.

Mr Wu Wei Neng, Executive Director of the Chandler Institute of Governance said, “Government capabilities are an enduring source of competitive advantage for nations. These capabilities include systems, institutions, processes, and skills – elements that take time to improve and build up. Once developed and strengthened, government capabilities are not easily eroded in the short-term, and can support governments through brief periods of instability or crisis.”

Governance capabilities are an enduring source of national advantage

Roughly one-third of countries in the CGGI (33) maintained the same overall ranking, and there were few large changes in country rankings. This stability can be partly attributed to the CGGI’s focus on capabilities, rather than outcomes. Capabilities in governance represent enduring foundations for public sector excellence, and are stable and lasting investments that governments can make for the future.

Dr Vu Minh Khuong, Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy said, “Capabilities are key to outcomes; all countries need to invest in developing better government capabilities. As the world is entering an era of revolutionary change, governments must be at the forefront of embracing emerging challenges and opportunities to create prosperity. International support to developing countries, therefore, should strategically focus on empowering and engaging governments as a leading driver of national development endeavours and a critical part of the solution to global challenges.”

More capable governments achieve better outcomes

The Index continues to show that effective government capabilities are closely linked to better outcomes for citizens. The same seven countries that top the overall Index also deliver the best outcomes in important areas such as education, gender equity and health, that matter to citizens. Additionally, Rule of Law, Property Rights, and Anti-Corruption are the three capabilities out of 26 that are most closely linked with overall CGGI performance. These are cornerstones upon which trust-based societies and economies are built. The Index not only highlights the need to bolster government capabilities globally, but can also reveal the specific areas different governments need to prioritise.

Mr Kent Weaver, Professor of Public Policy and Government, Georgetown University said, “Good governance should not be taken for granted; even high-performing countries can be caught off guard by unforeseen crises. The COVID-19 pandemic shows us that trust is a vital part of good governance. Indeed, the ability to effectively tackle corruption is the metric most closely associated with overall performance in the Index. When citizens trust their leaders and institutions to deliver effectively, governments can be more ambitious, and can work closely with communities to create opportunities and prosperity.”

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