I am interested in finding some metrics that capture how 'socialist' or 'capitalist' a country was throughout modern history, and to include these alongside those in the gapminder dataset, to explore and examine any relationships with life expectancy and per capita income.

Two possible metrics I can think of are:

  • the ratio of total government spending to all spending (G / Y), and,
  • the value of government-owned assets divided by the value of all assets in the country's economy

What other metrics indicate how 'socialist' or 'capitalist' a country is?

For reference: Gapminder 2012

enter image description here

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I am voting to close not because this is a bad question in itself but because it is purely opinion based and therefore off topic here. Capitalism in economics is ill defined and if you look at all definitions out there it is not even clear if it is opposite of socialism - for example in political sciences there are some scholars who claim that USSR was example of “state capitalism”. Socialism is a bit better defined in economics but it has still some room for interpretation. Narrowing it down to asking about metrics that were used in past in some strand of research would help help $\endgroup$
    – 1muflon1
    Jun 15, 2020 at 17:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @1muflon1 note that the question doesn't assume they are opposites. Also, 'characterise' is used rather than 'defined' since some things are difficult to define, at least in a way everyone agrees on. I see your points though $\endgroup$
    – stevec
    Jun 15, 2020 at 17:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the question of how the size of the government relative to the size of the economy affects other economic variables is definitely interesting and relevant. The use of the terms ''socialism' and 'capitalism' is problematic for a number of reasons. $\endgroup$ Jun 15, 2020 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don’t know. How do you measure the benefits of planning? Theoretically, it is the ability to plan, say for instance, to plan on a large scale for climate change, that were seen as potential benefits of these planned economies. $\endgroup$
    – Gordon
    Jun 16, 2020 at 1:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree with most of the comments above. I think the question should be more like "Which metrics are commonly used to characterise 'capitalist' and 'socialist' economies?" In any way I would suggest also looking at the allocation mechanism (market or plan). $\endgroup$
    – sba222
    Jun 17, 2020 at 14:02


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.