Appendix One – The Survey
Appendix 1 – The Survey
The Global Risks Perception Survey was carried out as an online survey during September 2012. The purpose of the survey is to sample the views of the World Economic Forum’s communities, which comprise top experts and high-level leaders from business, academia, NGOs, international organizations, the public sector and civil society. More than 6,000 invitations were sent out and 1,234 respondents returned the questionnaire with usable information; 1,006 of these were complete responses – compared with 469 in 2011.
In the 2012 survey, in addition to greater diversity of affiliation, respondents also come from more diverse regions of the world (see Figure 41). They indicated 101 countries as their country of residence, and self-identified expertise on 115 countries. This has increased compared with 2011, when only 69 countries were chosen as country of residence. There was an increase in representation from Asia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa with a larger number of responses from Japan, China and India for Asia; Costa Rica, Mexico and Brazil for Latin America; and Nigeria and South Africa for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The survey sample includes experts in a range of subjects. About 29% of respondents are female, and the average age of survey respondents is 43. With the inclusion of the new Global Shapers Community – a group of young leaders between 20 and 30 years oldxiv – the range of age groups covered by the survey is wider than it was last year.
The survey sample closely resembles the targeted survey population as described above. The distribution of people across regions and types of organizations is nearly identical; the average age is slightly lower (by two years) and the proportion of women is slightly higher (by 3 percentage points). It is important to note that the data is not intended to be representative of wider populations than this specific survey population.
The questionnaire consisted of three sections with the following questions:
Section 1 covered the above-mentioned demographic information.
In Section 2, respondents were asked to assess each of the 50 global risks covered in this report, by stating how they would rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, the likelihood that the risk is to occur over the next 10 years, and if it were to occur, the impact it would have on the world.
In addition, a new question was introduced this year to think about the country that they had identified in Section 1 as the country about which they have most expertise, and rate the ability of that country to adapt and/or recover from the impact of each of the 50 global risks.
The answer options to these three questions were presented as Likert-type scales, where the respondent, using a slider on the screen, was able to select a value ranging from 1 (low) to 5 (high) as well as the midpoints between these integers.
For each category of risks – economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological – the last question in Section 2 asks survey respondents to select what they thought would be the “Centre of Gravity”, i.e. the single most important risk from a systemic perspective. They could choose from the 10 risks in each category via a drop-down menu.
Finally, in Section 3, respondents were asked to identify strong connections between pairs of risks. They had the opportunity to select at least three and up to 10 combinations, by dragging tiles into paired boxes from the pool of 50 risks.
Margin of Errors
Based on the spread of the answers as well as the survey sample size, one can calculate the margin of error, based on a 95% confidence level.
For the global likelihood and global impact questions (Figures 1, 2, 29, 30), which were answered by all 1,234 respondents, the maximumlv margin of error is 0.07 units.
For the question on the Centres of Gravity (Figure 36), the maximumlvi margin of error is 2.7 percentage points.
For the question on country recovery and adaptability, the margin of error is heavily dependent on how many people assessed the country in the question (as explained above, survey respondents could choose which country to assess). The tables in Appendix 3 detail the values.