Institute for Economics and Peace
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2021. No 2(61). P. 43-56
Abstract. This article provides an overview of the purpose, development and future of the Global Peace Index (GPI), a composite indicator of peacefulness at the national level. It explains why the concept of negative peace is well suited to being captured by a composite index, for both theoretical and statistical reasons. It examines how the GPI fits within the field of peace and conflict studies and how its methodological soundness has been assessed. This is done by looking at the history and structure of the GPI and showing how it relates to other definitions and indicators of peacefulness. The article then analyzes how the index is constructed with respect to its weighting, aggregation, and robustness. Some of the criticisms of the index are also explored, as well as the main proposed directions for the GPI evolution over the coming decade. Three main advantages of the index are identified as the ones that best reflect its novel input in peace and conflict studies. First, a composite indicator of peace helps to provide a more compelling narrative around the dynamics of peace between countries, to generate more interest in the peace and conflict field and to promote the concept of peace as a crucial driver of development. Second, the aggregation of multiple indicators of violence allows for the construction of a continuous measure of peacefulness with a less skewed distribution that can serve as the baseline for seeing which factors in other areas are correlated with peacefulness. Third, this composite measure of peacefulness highlights areas where data on aspects of negative peace are missing, incomplete, or not comparable across countries and drives the creation of new and novel indicators to fill these data gaps.
Keywords: Global Peace Index, indices, composite indicators, peace, conflict, negative peace concept, methodology, measurement
Thomas Morgan (Australia) – Associate Director of Research, Institute for Economics and Peace, Sydney, Australia.
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