Commitment to Global Development: How does the U.S. Rank?

According to the Center for Global Development, The United States ranks 17th out of 22 rich countries in terms of its commitment to global development. (via Yglesias)

The organization used a numerical rating system based on 7 separate indices, and added/subtracted points from countries for law and policies that were seen as pro- or anti- development.

In terms of trade, the index emphasizes the kinds of  policies are truly beneficial for the developing world. Countries are penalized for imposing barriers on products imported from the developing world, and for subsidizing their own products which can have the effect of “flooding” developing country markets. The U.S.’s high score in this regard is difficult to understand, even from a glance at the raw data:

United States Overall
  • Score: 7.0
  • Rank: 3
United States Strengths
  • Low tariffs on agricultural products (10.6% of the value of imports; rank: 3)
  • Low agricultural subsidies (equivalent to 12.7% tariff; rank: 11)
United States Weaknesses
  • High barriers against textiles (8.4% of the value of imports; rank: 19)
  • High barriers against apparel (9.6% of the value of imports; rank: 18)

How exactly does an average of 3, 11, 19 and 18 add up to an overall rank of 3?

Another problematic indicator is migration. The U.S. appears to have ranked relatively high because of a “large increase during the 1990s in the number of unskilled immigrants from developing countries living in the United States.” Whether or not this trend has proven beneficial for the development of countries like Mexico is debatable. Further, the index points out that the United States traditionally “bears small share of the burden of refugees during humanitarian crises.”

Not surprisingly, The U.S. scored dismally low in terms of Aid and Environment. But at least we have one thing going for us:

  • Has the most military ships in the world stationed in sea lanes that are important to international trade (rank by share of GDP: 1)

You’re welcome, developing world.

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Filed under Economy, Environment, Foreign Policy

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