This has implications for the way in which countries climb up the Prosperity Steps. For countries at the lower end of the steps, improvements can be made in a wider range of areas. India can improve its Education score, while Azerbaijan can improve its Governance score. For countries already at the upper end of the steps, the options are more limited because their performance is already high. For these countries, the challenge is more a matter of maintaining prosperity than improving it.
Charting movement up the Prosperity Steps
The chart illustrates how countries have climbed up the Prosperity Steps over the past decade. By splitting all 149 countries into quadrants, where the first quadrant contains the top 30 countries, the second countries ranked 31st to 75th, the next 76th to 119th, and the fourth quadrant the bottom 30 countries, we can plot the movement of countries up the steps.
The chart shows that climbing up the steps, from one quadrant to another, is difficult. Between 2007 and 2016, only eleven countries did so. Two – Mauritius and Uruguay – climbed from the second quadrant to the first; eight – Vietnam, Albania, Paraguay, Serbia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines – climbed from the third quadrant to the second; and only one – Zimbabwe – climbed from the fourth quadrant to the third. This shows us that mobility is higher in the middle of the steps: moving from the third quadrant to the second is easier than it is at the top or bottom.