I had a discussion recently in which it was stated that Scotland having more universities in the top 200 per capita than any other country is a good indication of the intelligence of the population of Scotland:
NOTE: I am not questioning the intelligence of Scots, just this calculation's validity
I don't see any way to compare the measurement of a population's intelligence by this method. For example: if Dundee, Scotland's lowest ranking (in the 200) university, fell just 4 places to 201, the entire country's intelligence measured in this manner would drop drastically. Then if it rose one place it would rise again by the same level as the fall of 4 places. If the five universities in the top 200 were at places 1,2,3, 4 and 5 there would be no change.
As well as that, funding can be external as in the UK's case the Scottish universities receive some EU and UK Research Council funding which, even if Scotland is at a tax/public spending surplus could still cause fluctuations which do not affect the intelligence level of Scots but will most likely affect their university positions in the top 200. Many students, staff and teachers are also not Scottish so really the measure of how intelligent a population is (using this method) comes down to those who make the decisions in the universities.
Am I missing something here, is this a useful calculation at all and does it relate to a country's intelligence? Are there any useful indicators of the population of a country's intelligence?