What makes one country more “creative” than another? A new study (pdf) compiled by the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) at the University of Toronto attempts to rank knowledge economies by that elusive trait.
It’s called the Global Creativity Index (GCI). To create their ranking, researchers defined creativity as the product of three measurable variables, “the Three Ts”: technology, talent and tolerance.
“Technology” rankings were determined by looking at investment levels in research and development, plus patents per capita. National “talent” was evaluated as a composite of the percentage of adults with higher-education degrees and the percentage of workforce involved in creative industries. Interestingly, the third factor in MPI’s creativity index was “tolerance”: a ranking based on how each country treats its immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBT residents.
To come to these results, researchers analyzed 139 countries and ranked them within each category. (Countries for which complete data could not be sourced were not included, and it’s worth noting that these are generally places with relatively low levels of economic development.) Overall creativity (GCI) was quantified as the average of each country’s rankings across categories, and divided once more by the total number of observations used to determine each T. (Patent applications per capita, creative-class measure, etc.)
Based on MPI’s definition of creativity, it comes as no surprise that there’s a strong link between each nation’s creativity ranking and its overall economic development.
“The GCI is closely associated with key measures of economic and social progress. Nations that score highly on the GCI have higher levels of economic output, entrepreneurship, economic competitiveness, and overall human development,” the report concludes. “Creativity is also closely associated with urbanization, with more urbanized nations scoring higher on the GCI.”
Researchers also claim to have found a link between social equality and creativity. “Overall, we find that nations that score high on the GCI have, on balance, greater levels of equality,” MPI found. “While some countries, like the United States and the United Kingdom, achieve high GCI scores alongside relatively high levels of inequality. Generally speaking, higher levels of global creativity are associated with lower levels of inequality.”