For the purposes of this Index, power is defined as the capacity of a state or territory to direct or influence the behaviour of other states, non-state actors, and the course of international events. At its most rudimentary, it is the capacity to impose costs and confer benefits that shape the choices of others.
The Index consists of eight measures of power, 27 thematic sub-measures and 114 indicators drawn from hundreds of publicly available sources and original Lowy Institute research. A country’s overall power is its weighted average across the eight measures of power.
Quantifying power presents several key challenges. First, the relative importance of factors determining state power is subject to debate. Second, it is difficult to obtain reliable and comparable data across 25 countries and territories.
The selection of indicators for the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index was driven by an extensive literature review and expert consultations designed to address these methodological hurdles. As such, each indicator represents a carefully selected proxy for a broader category of variables often more difficult, if not impossible, to measure comparatively.
A distance-to-frontier approach is used to compare a country’s results with the best performing and worst performing countries in each dataset. The method reflects the notion that power in international relations is relative, measured as comparative advantage in a given frame of reference.
A full methodology report is available for download at the bottom of the page.