Appendix B - Global Risks Perception Survey and Methodology 2014
As discussed in Part 1, the Global Risk 2014 report has adjusted the list of global risks to take into account learnings from past editions as well as developments in the global risks landscape. As a result, the set of global risks was streamlined with a view to improving the fit of the individual risks with the definition introduced in this year’s report. The Global Risks Perceptions Survey has been adjusted accordingly. The following section describes the survey and methodology in greater detail.
The Global Risks Perceptions Survey
The Global Risks Perception Survey, discussed in Part 1, is the main instrument for assessing global risks in this report. The survey was conducted between October and November 2013 among the World Economic Forum’s multistakeholder communities of leaders from business, government, academia and non-governmental and international organizations. The graph below shows the profile of the survey respondents. To capture the voice of youth, the survey also targeted the World Economic Forum’s community of Global Shapers. Under-30s accounted for approximately one-quarter of the respondents.
Figure A.1: Survey Sample Composition (per cent)
Source: Global Risks Perception Survey 2013-2014.
Risks of Highest Concern in 2014
To identify the top 10 global risks of highest concern, described in Part 1, respondents answered the following question: “From the following list of 31 risks, please select the five risks of highest concern globally and rank these from 1 (of highest concern) to 5 (of lowest concern)”. A score was assigned for each answer based on the rank, from 5 points for the first-ranked risk to 1 point for the fifth-ranked. For example, if the risk of water crises was cited as the risk of biggest concern (Rank 1), the answer would be assigned five points; if it was cited as the fifth risk of most concern, the answer would be assigned one point. The score earned by each risk corresponds to the total points earned by that risk across all responses divided by the number of responses. The risks with the 10 highest scores were selected as the risks of highest concern.
Formally, for any given risk i from the list of 31 risks, the score is derived as follows:
where N is the number of respondents to the survey and ranki,n corresponds to the rank assigned by respondent n to risk i.
Global Risks Landscape in 2014
Respondents were asked to assess the likelihood and global impact of each of the 31 risks. For each risk, they were asked, “How likely is this risk to materialize globally within the next 10 years?” and “What is the estimated impact globally if this risk were to materialize? (Impact is to be interpreted in a broad sense beyond just economic consequences)”. The possible answers ranged from 1 (“very unlikely” and “low impact”, respectively) to 7 (“almost certain” and “high impact”, respectively). Respondents were given the possibility to leave the answer blank if they felt unable to provide an informed answer (“don’t know”). A simple average for both likelihood and impact for each of the 31 global risks was calculated on this basis. Formally, for any given risk i, its likelihood and impact, denoted respectively likelihoodi and impacti, are:
where Ni is the number of respondents for risk i, and likelihoodi,n and impacti,n are respectively the likelihood and impact assigned by respondent n to risk i and measured on a scale from 1 to 7. Moreover, Ni1≠ Ni2 as, for each risk i, survey respondents could choose not to answer each question (“don’t know”).
Interconnections in 2014
To draw the interconnection map presented in Part 1, survey respondents were asked to identify three to six pairs of risks they believed were connected, disregarding directions of causality. A tally was made of the number of times each pair was cited. This value was then divided by the count of the most frequently cited pair. As a final step, the square root of this ratio was taken to dampen the long-tail effect (i.e. a few very strong links, and many weak ones) and to make the differences more apparent across the weakest connections. The value of the interconnection determines the thickness of each connecting line in the graph, with the most frequently cited pair having the thickest line. Out of the 465 possible pairs, 178 or 38% were not cited. Formally, the intensity of the connection between risks i and j, denoted interconnectionij, corresponds to:
where N is the number of respondents. Variable pairij,n is 1 when respondent n selected the pair of risks i and j as part of his/her selection. Otherwise, it is 0.
Risks and Trends to Watch in 2014
Survey respondents were asked two open questions: “Which risk of major global concern is missing from the list of the 31 risks (list one risk only)” and “Which additional issue could potentially emerge as a risk of major global concern in the future (list one issue only)?” Given the large range of answers provided by the respondents, answers were manually grouped into broader categories. Figure 1.5 in Part 1 is an illustration of the recurrence of these categories: the larger the category the more often it was mentioned. The purpose of these two questions was to stimulate debate on the identification of future risks and trends.