The WRCES Merit ranking was created to reward the countries that are "punching above their weight" in international sport. 

To identify which factors lead to countries' success in elite sport, we have measured the correlations between the WRCES results with the population, GDP, GDP per capita and population density of the same countries for six consecutive years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. This comparative study was done because these parameters will show the impact of demography, wealth and geography which were three of the macro-level factors identified by researchers in the field. The comparisons were done between the points won by each country in the WRCES and the number of inhabitants for the population, the total amount of US dollars (in millions) for the GDP, the total amount of US dollars for the GDP per capita and the total amount of inhabitants per km2 for the population density. 

Whether positive or negative, the strength of a correlation is considered as follows: 

0-0.19: very weak  
0.2-0.39: weak
0.4-0.59: moderate
0.6-0.79: strong
0.8-1: very strong
The results obtained were the following:

The results showed that the factor that has the highest impact on sport results is the GDP. For this reason, the WRCES Merit Ranking will be based on the difference between the WRCES and the GDP rankings. The more this difference is higher in the advantage of the WRCES, the better the WRCES merit’s ranking will be. This “special ranking” will highlight the achievements of many underdog nations.