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The Lowy Institute Asia Power Index

Asia’s economic transformation is reshaping the global distribution of power, with profound implications for war and peace in the twenty-first century.

About the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index

The annual Asia Power Index — launched by the Lowy Institute in 2018 — measures resources and influence to rank the relative power of states in Asia. The project maps out the existing distribution of power as it stands today, and tracks shifts in the balance of power over time.

The Index ranks 26 countries and territories in terms of their capacity to shape their external environment — its scope reaching as far west as Pakistan, as far north as Russia, and as far into the Pacific as Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

The 2021 edition — which covers four years of data — is the most comprehensive assessment of the changing distribution of power in Asia so far. Among other things, it aims to sharpen the debate on the near- and long-term geopolitical consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project evaluates international power in Asia through 131 indicators across eight thematic measures: military capability and defence networks, economic capability and relationships, diplomatic and cultural influence, as well as resilience and future resources. Over half of our data points involve original Lowy Institute research, while the rest are aggregated from hundreds of publicly available national and international sources.

This year, the Index includes three new indicators that track Covid-19 vaccine doses administered nationally as well as regional vaccine diplomacy efforts and donations per capita. These are in addition to new indicators introduced in 2020, including climate change resilience, and bilateral and plurilateral defence dialogues.

Dynamic features — including an interactive map, weightings calculator, network analysis, country comparisons, and drill-down explorations of each indicator across multiple years — establish the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index as an indispensable research tool for the study of power in Asia.

Asia Power Index Team

Hervé Lemahieu is Director of Research at the Lowy Institute. Hervé leads the research for the annual Asia Power Index — launched by the Institute in 2018 — and authored the methodology to map the changing distribution of power in the region. Hervé joined Lowy from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London where he was Research Associate for Political Economy and Security specialising in Southeast Asia. Hervé has an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from the University of Oxford, and an MA in International Relations and Modern History from the University of St Andrews.

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Alyssa Leng is a Research Fellow and Economist in the Power and Diplomacy program at the Lowy Institute. Her research focuses on economic growth and development, particularly in Southeast Asia, as well as geoeconomics. Alyssa produces data-driven projects and analyses, including the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index and the COVID Performance Index. Before joining the Institute, Alyssa worked on Australia's economic policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic and infrastructure policy at the Australian Treasury. She has also worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia and holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney.

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The Asia Power Index team would like to thank the critical contributions of Nicholas Bosworth, Clare Caldwell, Brody Smith and Stephen Hutchings on the 2021 Asia Power Index. Researchers who contributed to previous editions of the Index include Bonnie Bley, Olivia Adams, Anthony Bubalo, Harriet Goers and Roland Rajah.

The Lowy Institute Asia Power Index is supported by the Lowy Institute’s Engaging Asia Project, which was established with the financial support of the Australian Government.

Media Enquiries

Shane McLeod

Shane McLeod

Director of Media & Communications