John Cross

Canada's Reputation.

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A new report is out and is making the rounds that claims Canada has the best reputation of any country in the world. I won’t link to any of the sites promoting this view (Nexus of … is one of them) but the meme is the same in all. “All the fear about Canada’s reputation being ruined by the Harper Government is bull since we scored #1 on the Reputation Institute’s Reputation of 50 Countries survey conducted recently”.

That seemed counter to what I would expect so I down loaded a (free) report summary to see what the report actually talks about. Sure enough usual suspects have conflated two things and then proudly claim it backs up their point (Patrick is especially good at this).

What the report actually shows is the reputation of a country based on three broad categories: economics, effective government and appealing environment. Notice what is missing from the list? Anything related to human rights in either a local or global sense. The Reputation seems to be aimed at international business looking to invest or expand their organizations. While this is good information, it is not what I (and I expect most) expect an international reputation to represent.

That alone is enough to render the report useless as a general indicator of reputation, but it gets worse. There is a clear bias in the people who responded to the survey. While there were over 60,000 ratings used to create this list, all - not some or most, but all - respondents were from G8 countries. It’s not that the opinion of someone in Afghanistan doesn’t count, it’s that it was never even collected. So this does not represent a world view, but perhaps a rich world view?

And if that isn’t enough there are two other statistical nits to pick. First, it is noted that Canada’s reputation actually decreased from the last survey (along with every other country). While this does not change the result that Canada is still number 1, it makes it impossible to say that the Harper Government is improving things. Second, and this is more of a statistical quibble, according to the results, there is no statistical difference between the top four countries at the 95% confidence interval (the other three are Sweden, Australia and Switzerland) so it is technically wrong to claim Canada as better than the other countries.

So the survey shows that Canada is a good place to invest and I agree with the survey when it gives Canada the #1 spot on the ” …..is a country I would recommend living in” list. However it does not show and in fact can’t show that the international reputation of Canada has improved under the Harper Government. I strongly suspect it hasn’t.

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This page contains a single entry by John Cross published on September 28, 2011 10:53 AM.

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