Finland remains the most competitive economy in the world and tops the rankings for the second consecutive year in The Global Competitiveness Report 2004-2005, released today by the World Economic Forum.
The United States is in second position, followed by Sweden, Taiwan, Denmark and Norway, consecutively.
“The Nordic countries are characterized by excellent macroeconomic management overall – they are all running budget surpluses – they have extremely low levels of corruption, with their firms operating in a legal environment in which there is widespread respect for contracts and the rule of law, and their private sectors are on the forefront of technological innovation. These countries prove the point that enhanced competitiveness and boosting the capacity of economies to operate effectively in the global economy is a multifaceted challenge requiring concerted actions on a number of fronts,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chief Economist and Director of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Program.
The rankings are drawn from the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, which this year polled over 8,700 business leaders in 104 economies worldwide. The survey questionnaire is designed to capture a broad range of factors affecting an economy’s business environment that are key determinants of sustained economic growth. Particular attention is placed on elements of the macroeconomic environment, the quality of public institutions which underpin the development process, and the level of technological readiness and innovation.
“Over the last several years the World Economic Forum’s Growth Competitiveness Index has been a useful tool in thinking about key macroeconomic and institutional elements, critical to the growth process. The present rankings continue to provide policy-makers, businesses and organizations of civil society with valuable insights into areas where further progress is called for, in order to improve the environment for private sector economic activity, and generate sustainable growth,” said Lopez-Claros.
“The Global Competitiveness Report – now in its 25th year of publication – has become a primary source of information on the strengths and weaknesses of over 100 economies, accounting for the bulk of global GNP. It is an invaluable reference guide for business leaders and policy-makers, as they endeavor to cooperate to create an environment which is more supportive of private sector economic activity. Increasingly, through insightful essays on various aspects of the economic agenda for improved reform and competitiveness, the Report is also making an important intellectual contribution to addressing some of the most intractable problems we face as we attempt to improve the state of the world,” noted Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
The World Economic Forum continues to expand geographic coverage of The Global Competitiveness Report, currently featuring a total of 104 economies, of which the new entrants this year include Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Georgia and the United Arab Emirates, making this Report the most comprehensive of its type.
Co-Directors of The Global Competitiveness Report are Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Michael E. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence Professor at Harvard Business School, Harvard University. Professor Porter presents the results of the Business Competitiveness Index (BCI), an especially useful complement to the GCI, with its emphasis on a range of company-specific factors conducive to improved efficiency and productivity at the micro level, such as the sophistication of the operating practices and strategies of companies, and the quality of the microeconomic business environment in which a nation’s companies compete. Results of the BCI rankings are fully reported in the Executive Summary and available online at www.weforum.org/gcr
This year’s Report contains a number of studies that address different aspects of competitiveness and, more generally, themes which emanate from the World Economic Forum’s deep concern with growth and development. Of particular note are Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin’s contribution on the development of more comprehensive competitiveness indicators, bringing in key factors not previously considered in the Forum’s recent competitiveness work; Dr Daniel Kaufmann’s study on governance and corruption in high-income countries; Dr Peter Heller’s paper examining the long-term fiscal implications of population aging, climate change and globalization; Professor William Easterly’s look at the issue of why foreign aid has not been more successful in boosting the competitiveness of poor countries; Dr Arthur Dahl’s interesting use of the Forum’s Survey to cast light on the issue of why environmental responsibility makes good business sense; and Dr Stefan Tangermann’s analysis of the glaring inefficiencies associated with the subsidization of agriculture in OECD countries and the needed reforms, among others.
The Report contains a detailed country profile for each of the 104 economies featured in the study, providing a comprehensive summary of the overall position in the Index rankings as well as a guide to what are considered to be the most prominent competitive advantages and competitive disadvantages of each. Also included is an extensive section of data tables with global rankings on over 100 indicators.
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The Report, published by Palgrave Macmillan, is available to purchase online at www.palgrave.com/worldeconomicforum , by telephone at +44 (0)1256 302688, by fax at +44 (0)1256 330688 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about The Global Competitiveness Report and other activities and publications of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Program, please visit www.weforum.org/gcp .