Finland Takes Top Spot in 2021 Chandler Good Government Index

  • European nations feature prominently in the top twenty in the inaugural Chandler Good Government Index;
  • Of Asia-Pacific nations, Singapore comes third, New Zealand comes ninth, Japan comes in 14th while Australia is 16th;
  • Canada rounds out the top ten, while the United States lands in 18th;
  • The full 2021 Country Rankings and Index Report can be found at

SINGAPORE, 26 APRIL 2021 — The first Chandler Good Government Index (The “CGGI”, or the “Index”) launched today in Singapore. It is the world’s most comprehensive index of effective national government. It has been designed, by the Chandler Institute of Governance, to show the importance of investing time and energy into enhancing the skills of public servants and the structures they operate within in order to deliver a better, more sustainable future.

Watch the Launch Event here:

Based on over 50 open data sources, the CGGI measures the effectiveness and capabilities of 104 governments across the world, which account for almost 90% of the world’s population. The index focuses on seven pillars, namely: Leadership & Foresight; Robust Laws & Policies; Strong Institutions; Financial Stewardship; Attractive Marketplace; Global Influence & Reputation; and Helping People Rise. The Index utilises a rigorous methodology developed in consultation with government practitioners, leaders, index experts and researchers in governance.

The top 20 countries in the Index are as follows:

New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

The countries ranked top in each of the Index pillars are as follows:

Top Ranked Country
Leadership and Foresight
Robust Laws & Policies
Strong Institutions
Financial Stewardship
Attractive Marketplace
Global Influence & Reputation
Helping People Rise

Mr Richard F. Chandler, Founder of the Chandler Institute of Governance said,

“The governance competition is the most important contest in the world today; it is the deciding factor in whether nations prosper. Well-governed countries attract capital and talent, which enable marketplace innovation, leading to strong companies and vibrant economies. This in turn, enables greater investment in public services, creating a virtuous cycle.
Launching the inaugural Index in the middle of a global pandemic has reinforced the positive impact of good governance, as well as the dangerous consequences of weak government. Lessons must be learned, and urgently, as governments tackle the critical challenges to the sustainability of our planet and well-being of our communities, while building strong and prosperous nations. ”
Mr Richard F. Chandler
Founder, Chandler Institute of Governance

The Index – developed by government practitioners, for government practitioners – has been designed to be as practical a tool as possible, enabling governments at different stages in their development, to see where their strengths and challenges might lie and providing examples of impactful policy and effective delivery.

Mr Wu Wei Neng, Executive Director of the Chandler Institute of Governance said,

“We designed the index as a way to measure good government that is practical, relevant, and focused on capabilities. Billions of dollars in development finance have been disbursed, but relatively little has focused on building capabilities in governments. Capabilities are key to outcomes that matter. The world needs to invest in more capable and trusted governments.”
Mr Wu Wei Neng
Executive Director, Chandler Institute of Governance

Government Capabilities are key to outcomes

The Index finds that better government capabilities, from data analysis to communication skills, are linked to better outcomes for citizens, from social mobility to the delivery of education, and healthcare. The same seven countries that top the overall Index also deliver the best outcomes.

The Index not only highlights the need to bolster government capabilities globally, but can also reveal the specific areas different governments need to prioritise – from reducing corruption, to investment promotion, and planning – which have the ability to impact governance outcomes.

Culture and effective institutions reinforce government performance in several Nordic countries

Several Nordic nations feature prominently in the overall ranking of the index. This has been attributed to their culture and history, or to the comprehensive social safety nets and systems, and effective national institutions that reinforce public trust in government.

While wealth is linked to good government, some nations outperform

Financial resources provide governments with the means to build strong systems, remunerate civil servants fairly, and provide public services well. Good governance is also the necessary foundation for this prosperity. It sets in motion a virtuous cycle that supports national development and is a key competitive advantage.

While the results of the Index, plotted against national GDP per capita show a correlation, one region in particular, the Balkans, outperforms governance expectations relative to its income level. Recent reforms of the healthcare and education sectors as well as improvements to the ease of doing business have all enabled the region to deliver better opportunities and quality of life compared to what would be expected based on income alone.

Anti-corruption, trust vital to good government

Of all the 34 indicators used to develop the Index, the indicator with the strongest correlation with the overall good government rankings is Anti-corruption. This finding highlights the importance of government efforts to prioritise anti-corruption in order to perform effectively. It also reinforces the broader importance of trust to the delivery of effective government.

Professor Kent Weaver, member of the CGGI Advisory Panel said,

“Good governance should not be taken for granted; even high-performing countries can be caught off guard by unforeseen crises. The COVID-19 pandemic shows us that trust is a vital part of good governance. Indeed, the ability to effectively tackle corruption is the metric most closely associated with overall performance in the Index. When citizens trust their leaders and institutions to deliver effectively, governments can be more ambitious, and can work closely with communities to create opportunities and prosperity.”
Professor Kent Weaver
CGGI Advisory Panel Member

About the Chandler Good Government Index 2021 (CGGI)

The Chandler Good Government Index 2021 (CGGI) is the first edition of what will be an annual series, measuring the effectiveness of governments in 104 countries across the world.

It is a practical tool to support governments in monitoring and benchmarking their capabilities. By focusing on state capacity and performance, the Index is broadly relevant to a wide range of countries regardless of their income level, political system and culture.

For more information on the Chandler Good Government Index and the 2021 Country Rankings, please visit

About the Chandler Institute of Governance (CIG)

The Chandler Institute of Governance (CIG) is an international non-profit organisation, headquartered in Singapore. We believe in a world where citizens have a deep sense of trust in their governments and public institutions, and where nations are governed by principled, wise leaders supported by an effective civil service. Trust and effective governance serve as a strong foundation for national development and prosperity. CIG supports governments in building government talent, leadership and public service capabilities through training programmes, research initiatives and advisory work. We are not affiliated with any national government or political party, and we do not represent any partisan or commercial interests.

For more news and information, visit or follow CIG on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn @ChandlerINST

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Dominic GABRIEL (Mr)
Communications Manager
Chandler Institute of Governance

Shanice KOH (Ms)
Programmes and Partnerships Executive and Communications Strategist
Chandler Institute of Governance