Thursday, August 18, 2016

Looking in the Mirror

A 2012 Pew Global Attitudes survey asked people about their opinions of various countries.  Their were twelve cases in which they asked people about their opinion of their own country.  The averages, with "very favorable," "somewhat favorable," "somewhat unfavorable," and "very unfavorable" counted as +2,+1,-1, and -2:

*India         1.59
*Pakistan      1.59
*China         1.49
*Russia        1.14
*United States 1.07
Turkey         1.01
Germany        0.84
Britain        0.83
*Greece        0.67
France         0.31
Italy          0.20
Spain         -0.16

An obvious follow-up question would be how the opinion within the country compared to opinions in other countries.  The list of countries that were asked about differed among nations, making it difficult to do a rigorous comparison.  I indicated countries whose people regarded themselves a lot more favorably that people in other countries did with an asterisk.  Turkey could arguably be included in that group.

As far as ratings of one's own country, there seems to be a strong negative relationship to GDP--people in poorer countries have a higher opinion of their own country (the United States is an outlier in this respect).  Of course, GDP isn't necessarily the cause--another possibility is that richer countries tend to have more freedom of the press, and as a result  people become more aware of the problems of their own country.

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