What is Misery Index?
Back in 1960s, distinguished American economist Arthur Okun defined misery index as sum of inflation and unemployment rates. America's high misery index was cited by candidate Jimmy Carter as a reason to elect him president in his 1976 presidential race against President Gerald R. Ford. The Cato Institute has now revived it by adding interest rates to the sum of inflation and unemployment rates and subtracting per capita GDP growth rate from it.
|Source: Cato Institute
Cato's 2013 Ranking:
According to the analysis published by the Cato Institute, Venezuela tops the list of 90 countries as the most miserable nation in the world. The countries listed in the misery index were selected based on data from the Economist Intelligence Unit and calculations from Steve Hanke, a professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University.
Venezuela's misery score of 79.4 is far above the second-ranked Iran (61.6) with the rest of the top 22 countries scoring above 25 on the index. Inflation is the major contributing factor plaguing three of the top four nations listed. The other countries are either hampered by high unemployment or interest rates.
In spite of Pakistan's multiple crises including the economic crisis, Pakistanis can take some solace in the fact that they are not alone in their misery. There are at least 27 nations, including their neighbors India and Iran, where people are economically suffering more than they are.
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World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates
World Bank on Job Growth in South Asia
Pakistan Offers Higher Economic Mobility Than US and China
Upwardly Mobile Pakistan