Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Ranking the World
Grading States as a Tool of Global Governance

$36.99 (C)

Alexander Cooley, Rawi Abdelal, Mark Blyth, Mlada Bukovansky, Nehal Bhuta, Seva Gunitsky, Sam Schueth, Jack Snyder
View all contributors
  • Date Published: October 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107484122

$ 36.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Over the last decade, international rankings have emerged as a critical tool used by international actors engaged in global governance. State practices and performance are now judged by a number of high-profile indices, including assessments of their levels of corruption, quality of democracy, creditworthiness, media freedom, and business environment. However, these rankings always carry value judgments, methodological choices, and implicit political agendas. This volume expertly addresses the important analytical, normative, and policy issues associated with the contemporary practice of 'grading states'. The chapters explore how rankings affect our perceptions of state performance, how states react to being ranked, why some rankings exert more global influence than others, and how states have come to strategize and respond to these public judgments. The book also critically examines how treating state rankings like popular consumer choice indices may actually lead policymakers to internalize questionable normative assumptions and lead to poorer, not improved, public policy outcomes.

    • The first political science book to address the growing practice and politics of international rankings of states by international organizations and NGOs
    • Places the rankings phenomenon within broader discussions of global governance in international relations
    • Discusses the rankings issue from both rationalist and sociological IR perspectives, and questions the value of rankings as effective public policy instruments
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Ranking the World is a truly unique contribution - the "top ranked" book of its kind since I cannot think of another quite like it. It is a must read for anyone interested in the increasingly important politics of rankings in international relations."
    Peter Andreas, John Hay Professor of Political Science and International Studies, Brown University, Rhode Island

    "Since the 1970s, ratings and rankings have become an ever-present feature of life in most developed and transitional societies. These ubiquitous measures reflect the "powerful allure of the technocratic model of policy evaluation and performance accountability", write the editors of this outstanding collection of chapters unearthing the dark underbelly of ratings politics. Covering democracy, state failure, corruption, press freedom and investment, the various authors argue forcefully that, despite their methodological flaws, systematic biases and susceptibility to manipulation, ratings and rankings now cause political and economic change as much as reflect it. The use of simplistic numerical grades as substitutes for informed debate about policy priorities and effectiveness, outlined in this highly original and important book, should concern us all."
    Stephen Hopgood, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107484122
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • contains: 36 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The emerging politics of international rankings and ratings: a framework for analysis Alexander Cooley
    2. Just who put you in charge? We did: CRAs and the politics of ratings Rawi Abdelal and Mark Blyth
    3. Corruption rankings: constructing and contesting the global anti-corruption agenda Mlada Bukovansky
    4. Measuring stateness, ranking political orders: indices of state fragility and state failure Nehal Bhuta
    5. Lost in the gray zone: competing measures of democracy in the former Soviet republics Seva Gunitsky
    6. Winning the rankings game: the Republic of Georgia, USAID, and the Doing Business Project Sam Schueth
    7. Conclusion. Rating the ratings craze: from consumer choice to public policy outcomes Jack Snyder and Alexander Cooley.

  • Editors

    Alexander Cooley, Barnard College, Columbia University
    Alexander Cooley is Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University and Columbia's Harriman Institute. He has published commentaries and opinions in leading venues including the New York Times, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, and serves on a number of international committees, advisory boards and working groups engaged in global governance in the post-Communist region.

    Jack Snyder, Columbia University, New York
    Jack Snyder is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations in the Political Science Department and the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, New York. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2012 received the International Security Studies Distinguished Scholar Award of the International Studies Association.


    Alexander Cooley, Rawi Abdelal, Mark Blyth, Mlada Bukovansky, Nehal Bhuta, Seva Gunitsky, Sam Schueth, Jack Snyder

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.