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JSPES, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Spring 2011)
pp. 80-89

IQ and International Wellbeing Indexes

Tatu Vanhanen

University of Helsinki

The ranking list of the best countries in the world published in Newsweek (August 23 & 30, 2010) caused debate on the factors that have helped some countries create better living conditions for people than many other countries, but there was hardly any discussion of the basic causes of the persistence of enormous disparities in human conditions in the world. The purpose of this paper is to compare various indexes measuring human wellbeing from different perspectives and to seek an explanation for their similarities and for the persistence of great disparities. The central argument is that clear differences in the average intelligence of nations (national IQ) explain a main part of the national differences in living conditions measured by various indexes.