New study ranks Singapore as best state in the world, 22 spots ahead of US


Singapore is the highest functioning state in the world, according to a 2022 Stateness Index report by German researchers.

About the study: The Stateness Index measures "stateness" and state quality through aggregated and disaggregated data to advance performance comparison and policy analysis. Theresa Paola Stawski, a political scientist from the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, has been investigating how well the states of the world function over the past few months.

“We can see the state in everything that surrounds us, for example in the streets, the courts, the police or the schools,” Stawski said in a university release, noting that it goes beyond the federal government and municipalities.

“The State is an institutionalized social and political order and organization of hierarchical authority that is in exclusive control of the Monopoly of Law, Monopoly of Violence and Monopoly of Administration throughout a given territory and its inhabitants,” the German team wrote.

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What contributes to a good state?: According to Stawski, states exhibit high functioning through things like patients immediately receiving a doctor’s appointment when they need an X-ray, communities having electricity around the clock and children having plenty of schools to go to in the country.

The best state: In 2022, the researchers found Singapore to be the best state in the world. The Southeast Asian nation ranks ahead of Australia (No. 2), Denmark (No. 3), the Netherlands (No. 4) and Estonia (No. 5) out of a list of 173 countries.

Although Singapore is not a democracy, researchers note that the nation “can insert and uphold the laws enacted by the regime, possess the means necessary to control both territory and populations and commands a bureaucratic infrastructure to implement and exert territorial sovereignty throughout the state territory.”

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“Whether a state functions well or not does not always have something to do with democracy,” Stawski said. “State research is even more fundamental.”

Meanwhile, Japan reached 19th place, the U.S. reached 23rd place and South Korea reached 28th place.


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