THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2016

Bringing Prosperity to Life

Jordan

Ranked 89th of 149

At a glance

Ranks

89 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™

90th
112th
79th
86th
48th
54th
119th
68th
103rd

SUB-INDEX RANKINGS

In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Jordan performs best on Health and Safety & Security and scores lowest on the Personal Freedom sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Jordan compares to other countries.

Prosperity Gap

The ‘Prosperity Gap’ takes a country's GDP and uses it as the yardstick to measure a nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

Jordan has a small prosperity deficit. Slightly larger than Israel’s prosperity deficit, Jordan’s is considerably smaller than that of its neighbours, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. Jordan’s deficit has hovered around the same level since 2007.

Note:
In the chart above, each dot represents a country. The curve shows the general tendency with which prosperity increases as GDP per capita increases. If a country falls below the curve, then we can say that compared to all other countries, it is under-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Likewise, if a country rises above the curve, then we can say that it is over-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Learn more about the Prosperity Gap here.

Alternatively, have a look at the Prosperity Gap view on our Rankings table for a full list of countries and to see how each of them are performing on the various sub-indices.

Commentary

The Prosperity Index shows Jordan to be a country struggling for prosperity in a sea of unrest. In terms of overall prosperity, it ranks above its neighbours of Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, but some distance below Israel. What sets Jordan apart is its high level of Safety & Security: its rank, at 54th, places Jordan far above its regional neighbours. This level of Safety & Security is more similar to Eastern Europe and South America, than it is to the Middle East. Jordan’s Safety & Security, however, is under threat.

The regional unrest triggered by the 2011 Arab Spring spread to Jordan in the form of protests against the authoritarian rule of the Hashemite monarchy. These protests burdened the economy – Jordan slipped down the ranking table in terms of Economic Quality and Business Environment – and added to regional instability. The 2013 military coup in Egypt that disrupted natural gas transfers to Jordan, the expansion of Islamic State, and the conflict in Syria with its spill-over into Iraq, which sent a wave of refugees to Jordan – some 620,000 - have put more pressure on the Jordanian state. While these events led to a drop in Jordan’s Safety & Security score, its initially high level mean Jordan is still an “island of stability” in the region.

Safety & Security score (level of Safety & Security) in Jordan and its neighbours
Despite a drop in its Safety & Security score since the Arab Spring, Jordan remains much safer and more secure than its neighbours.

A positive side to the unrest emerged in the form of some domestic political reform. Keen to preserve his country’s reputation as a safe haven, King Abdullah II, who has ruled Jordan since 1999, has allowed a large body of reforms since 2011 in reaction to the protesters and opposition’s demands. Jordan’s overall Governance score, as well as rank, increased from 2011 to 2016. Of all 13 component variables in the Governance sub-index, only one – regulatory quality – deteriorated between 2011 and 2016. Jordan has seen a strong improvement in the rule of law. In 2014, the jurisdiction of the quasi-military State Security Court was limited to high crimes of espionage, drugs, terrorism, treason, and currency counterfeiting. Governance remains, however, at a low absolute level compared to developed countries. 2014 also saw amendments to a 2006 anti-terrorism law that broadened its scope to nonviolent offences, like using information networks to support or promote terrorism.

Similarly, while non-violent restrictions of civil liberties continue and police and gendarmerie forces retain a tight control of protests and demonstrations, Jordan’s overall Personal Freedom score, as well as its rank, has improved since 2011. Of all 12 component variables in the Personal Freedom sub-index, only two – press freedom and governmental restrictions on religious practice – deteriorated between 2011 and 2016. There have been some notable improvements. Under a 2013 law, for example, women are no longer required to obtain their husbands’ permission when applying for a passport. Here again Personal Freedom in Jordan remains at a low level compared to developed countries. Discrimination against LGBT persons is prevalent: consensual same-sex sexual activity, though legal, is socially unacceptable. Authorities use public disturbance laws to break up LGBT gatherings and to block the formation of LGBT rights groups.

An area in need for reform is the Business Environment. While Jordan’s Business Environment sub-index showed signs of improvement in the years running up to 2011, it has since deteriorated, taking Jordan’s rank in this sub-index down to 112th place. Its overall Business Environment score has not changed much between 2011 and 2016 – this is a story of relative decline. While other countries deepen their internet infrastructure and make their labour markets more flexible, Jordan has seen no progress in these areas. The King is trying to balance economic and business environment reform with populist demands for more subsidies and compensatory cash payments for rising fuel prices, which triggered some of the heaviest protests the country has seen.


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Data

How to read this graph:
When comparing multiple countries on a spider chart, data points that appear
further away from the center represent a better performance to the points that are closer to the center.