The Data Behind Emerging Economies

In the 2000s, Goldman Sachs identified two groups of national economies, BRICS and MINT, as uniquely poised to lead the global economy in the 21st Century.

I wanted to get a closer look at the data behind why Goldman Sachs recognized these economies. Sometimes (often) economic data can be pretty dense and complex, so in visualizing the following data, I endeavored to make things as accessible and meaningful as possible. 

Who are we talking about?

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have formed an official association beyond Goldman Sachs' economic grouping, and are recognized stronger, stabler economies. 

The MINT nations (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) are smaller and feature more volatile economies with unique qualities (for instance, Nigeria's extremely high youth population).

Let's start with some high-level data

We can see that BRICS and MINT enjoyed considerable economic growth from the early 2000s until 2010, and had significant gains along the Human Development Index, which measures countries' development on a scale of 0 to 1. 

How Does Internet Access Affect the Ease of Doing Business in Emerging Economies?

I wanted to look at a couple of factors I guessed would affect the emergence of these economies. As you can see from the graph below, there's a correlation between countries' access to the internet and how easy it is to do business there, but not as much correlation with the level of corruption.  

(Note that the Ease of Doing Business Index is a discrete index, where each country occupies a single spot on the ranking, while Internet Access is a per-capita measure, so the y-axis is a bit of artificial incrementation. The correlation, however, is real).

Internet Access is defined by the number of residents out of 100 connected to the internet. There exists a clear correlation between countries with easier business regulations and more connected residents.

Ease of Doing Business is an aggregate ranking that ranks business regulations in many countries. It takes into account several factors related to ease, including starting a business, getting credit, and paying taxes. A lower number means it’s easier to do business in the country.

The Corruption Ranking is also an aggregate score that looks at a few different factors across the world, including perceived corruptness and bribe potential in a given country. 

Factors Unique to these Economies

Nigeria’s high age-dependency ratio (vs. rest of MINT), Compared with GDP Growth

Nigeria is unique among the 9 BRICS and MINT nations in that it has a very high age-dependency ratio, which means a much higher share of Nigerians are of working age than those who aren’t. This means a much larger share of 182 million Nigerians are contributing to the society than similar-sized countries with lower age-dependency rates. This is one key to Nigeria’s strong economy.

Percentage of Residents Connected to the Internet, Normalized to World’s Rate

The chart above, showing the correlation between Ease of Doing Business and Internet Access, proves why this data here is so critical to the emerging economies. The ability of residents to connect to the internet is perhaps the strongest sign of a developed country in the 21st Century. The chart below shows a great disparity between Russia and India, with India more than 5% below the national average — which is huge when the size of the population is considered.