Elcano Global Presence Index

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The Elcano Global Presence Index, developed by the Elcano Royal Institute, is a synthetic index that orders, quantifies, and aggregates the external projection and the international positioning of countries. It aims to show the current situation and the historical evolution of the external presence of countries and regions, both in a global and a European scope.

The Index builds on previous efforts made by the academic community, some international organizations and several think tanks to conceptualize globalization[1]​ and the capacity of different countries to shape these process based on their international positioning in several fields.

In the theoretical domain, this discussion has payed attention to the new world balances after the Cold War, to the appearance of emerging powers in an increasingly interdependent economy and to more complex concepts of power in international relations​[2], such as soft power. There are also some attempts to operationalize some dimensions related to these phenomena –such as, for example, economic openness and competitiveness, commitment to development or reputation and image[3]–​, useful for international comparison. The Elcano Global Presence Index seeks to complement these analyses with a general and aggregated measurement of the international positioning of countries in the globalized world, being the first comprehensive, extensive and multidisciplinary proposal of a metric of international relations from the point of view of its results, and isolating the effort of the States.

Methodology and structure

Annually elaborated since 2010 and with a series that starts in 1990, the index is currently calculated on the basis of 66.348 data for 130 countries.[4]

It comprises three dimensions: economic, military and soft, including the following indicators:[5]

  • Economic presence is measured through exports of energy, primary goods, manufactures and services, as well as with direct investments abroad.
  • Military presence is measured by means of the troops deployed abroad and military equipment.
  • Soft presence is measured by migrations; tourism; sports performance in international competitions; cultural projection; informative projection; international patents and income received from the use of intellectual property; articles published in scientific journals; the number of foreign students; and investment in development aid.

Moreover, since 2012, the Index also measures the global presence of the European Union as single political actor. This measurement is complemented by the Elcano European Presence Index, which seizes the internationalization of member states within the Union’s boundaries. Moreover, for some countries or groupings, the calculation of global presence is broken down by geographic origin (autonomous communities in Spain[6], member states in the EU[7]) and by destination (geographic distribution of the global presence of Spain and the EU).

Both the Elcano Global Presence Index and the Elcano European Presence Index allow for international and temporary comparisons, proving to be a useful tool for:

  • Analyzing the global trends in international presence (evolution of multipolarity and bipolarity, globalization, rise or decline of certain powers and regions, or greater or lesser role of soft versus hard relations).
  • Examining the foreign policy of the countries for which it is calculated (assessment of efforts based on the results obtained, sectorial analysis of presence, relation between presence and influence, or distance between objective presence and subjective perception).

Further reading

In the media



  1. Olivié, Iliana; Molina, Ignacio (2011). "IEPG: un índice para medir la globalización". Política Exterior. Nr. 141.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. Morgenthau, Hans (1948). Politics Among Nations: the Struggle for Power and Peace. New York: Knopf.
  3. Olivié, Iliana; Molina, Ignacio (2011). "Estudio Elcano 2 – Elcano Global Presence Index, IEPG". Madrid: Elcano Royal Institute: 17.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. "Countries listed in the Elcano Global Presence Index". Elcano Global Presence Index. Retrieved 2020-07-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "Variables, indicators and sources of the Elcano Global Index Presence". Elcano Global Presence Index. Retrieved 10 July 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. Olivié, Iliana; Gracia, Manuel; Gomariz, Mª Dolores (2017). "Spain in the world: an analyisis of the Elcano Global Presence Index". ARI. Nr. 103/2017.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. Olivié, Iliana; Gracia, Manuel (2020). "Regional or global player? The EU's international profile". Elcano Policy Paper. Nr. 2/2020.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

External links

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