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Secrets of Transformation

A scientific look at transformation

The Bertelsmann Transformation Index analyzes and assesses the quality of democracy, market economy and governance in 129 developing and transition countries.

The Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) analyses the quality of democracy, a market economy and political management in 129 developing and transition countries. It measures successes and setbacks on the path toward a democracy based on the rule of law and a market economy anchored in principles of social justice. It also evaluates the ability of policymakers to carry out consistent and targeted reforms. The BTI is the first cross-national comparative index to use self-collected data to measure the quality of governance and provide a comprehensive analysis of countries' policymaking success during processes of transition.

Detailed country reports with nearly 7,000 individual evaluations, compiled by some 250 experts and scientists at leading universities and think tanks all over the world, form the basis of the assessment of what is and isn't working.

Long-term trends

The BTI serves to highlight the factors that contribute to success and failure in developing and transformation countries. It's published every two years, and this sustained evaluation makes it possible to monitor the effects of political decisions over a long period of time. The information available to Deutsche Welle reflects developments between 2006 and 2014.

Donner, Hartmann, Schwarz

BTI project leaders: Sabine Donner, Hauke Hartmann, Robert Schwarz

Measurement and analysis of the transformation process over the last eight years has given an insight into which countries have been particularly successful in terms of democratization and economic development, which countries were able to improve their development status and govern with greater efficiency and discretion - and which have suffered particular setbacks. In this analysis it's important to take into consideration the different starting points and backgrounds. For example, Liberia has made great progress towards democracy, but it still stands behind Hungary, even though the latter has fallen in the index.

Scientific analysis meets journalism

An important aspect of the BTI analysis is the local perspective. Whenever possible, a resident expert from the respective country joins an international surveyor in providing the country assessment. This enables an exchange of internal and external views.

Against that backdrop, the "Secrets of Transformation" project fits well with the work of the BTI. DW's journalistic research complements the scientific analysis of the BTI's country experts, and a local assessment of the transformation trend is in keeping with the local focus of the index. During our investigation, DW correspondents and reporters concentrated on key aspects of the transformation process including freedom of opinion, rule of law and separation of powers, inclusive economic growth and corruption.

A journalistic investigation based on eight years of transformation analysis is thus bound to produce challenging research results that will prove to be enriching for the BTI's transformation awareness.