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Post How Do You Measure "Trust"? The Economist's Liveability Index
Created by John Eipper on 08/21/17 4:08 PM

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How Do You Measure "Trust"? The Economist's Liveability Index (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 08/21/17 4:08 pm)

The topic of trust and trustworthiness in different societies always interested me, because they are generally based in assumptions, factors, measures and social models which sometimes are biased or less than perfect. The question used in the Pew Center study cited by John E was apparently very simple, "Are people in society trustworthy?"  Taking apart the reliability of the data collection and sampling methodology and consequently the reliability of the results, the possible answers were simple: yes or no, agree or disagree.

Of course the meaning and the social context of "trustworthy" in different languages and cultures is definitively of no minor importance for the survey. For instance, I understand that in English the meaning of trustworthy is that "a person is reliable, responsible, and can be trusted completely." There are frequently other synonyms such as dependable, ethical, honest, honourable, reliable, reputable, responsible, righteous, trusty, truthful, upright and maybe many others. In Spanish the meaning is more or less the same, "ser confiable o fiable," "una persona de confianza", which means a strong confidence in somebody. However, many times a "persona de confianza " is related to a more emotional meaning, somebody to whom you can have a personal or familiar relationship but not necessarily to trust him or her on other matters.

With this argument I am striving to put the simplistic models in context. The Pew Center question could lead to erroneous conclusions.

A more interesting and complex study can be found in The Economist. It is the 2017 Global Liveability Index, an annual ranking test by The Economist's Intelligence Unit which assesses which worldwide locations provide the best and worst living standards, http://www.eiu.com/topic/liveability

The research uses five categories or weighted indicators, with five or six factors each, for evaluation:

· Stability (weight: 25% of total)

· Healthcare (weight: 20% of total)

· Culture & Environment (weight: 25% of total)

· Education (weight: 10% of total)

· Infrastructure (weight: 20% of total)

I do not know if I agree with giving Education only 10% of the weight, but those are the ones used by the model.

Among 143 countries in the study, the big winners are cities in Canada and Australia:

1. Australia, Melbourne

2. Austria, Vienna

3. Canada, Vancouver

4. Canada,Toronto

5. Canada, Calgary

6. Australia, Adelaide

7. Australia, Perth

8. New Zealand, Auckland

9. Finland, Helsinki

10. Germany, Hamburg

The "losers" or last ten positions are

134) Ukraine, Kiev

135) Cameroon, Douala

136) Zimbabwe, Harare

137) Pakistan, Karachi

138) Algeria, Algiers

139) PNG, Port Moresby

140) Bangladesh, Dhaka

141) Libya. Tripoli

142) Nigeria, Lagos

143) Syria, Damascus

I was very much surprised not to find Caracas, Venezuela, last on the list!

JE comments: Excellent points from José Ignacio Soler, especially with the "confianza" factor.  There is no exact translation of ser de confianza--it means someone you trust, but also in whom you can confide.  Reliability or responsibility is not necessarily part of the equation.

WAISers know I love nation and city rankings.  The Economist's list is interesting, but "liveability" strikes me as even more subjective than trust.  Ultimately, isn't a liveable city one in which you have people you trust?


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