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 2020 edition — which covers three 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 geopolitical consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project evaluates international power in Asia through 128 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 major ecological threats, bilateral and plurilateral defence dialogues, and perceptions of the international and domestic handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Papua New Guinea, a Pacific country on the geographical continuum of Southeast Asia, has also been included for the first time.

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 the Asian Power and Diplomacy Program 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) where he was Research Associate for Political Economy and Security specialising in Southeast Asia. He has also consulted on early warning and geopolitical risk for governments and international organisations. 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 Associate in the Asian Power and Diplomacy Program at the Lowy Institute and one of the principal researchers behind the Asia Power Index. Her other research focuses on the economics and politics of Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as the broader geo-economics of the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining the Institute, Alyssa worked on Australia’s economic policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic and infrastructure policy at the Australian Treasury and studied economics at the University of Sydney.

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The Asia Power Index team would like to thank the critical contributions of Bonnie Bley, Nicholas Bosworth, and Stephen Hutchings on the 2020 Asia Power Index. Researchers who contributed to previous editions of the Index include 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.