Saturday, October 11, 2008

2008-2009 Global Competitiveness Report is out

The World Economic Forum release an annual report, where they rank the competitiveness of a number of countries in the world (currently 134, but the number is growing every year). While the index has some problems (the factors, and the weight of those factors, seems to have been selected to favor the US), it's still an interesting index to look at.

The index for 2008-9 can be found here.

First of all, I should probably explain what I mean about the the fact that the index is set up to favor the US. If you look at page 12 of chapter 1.1, you'll find the start of the list of countries, sorted by their overall ranking. Unsurprisingly, you'll find the US at the top, with an overall score of 5.74. At first glance, that would look like an average of the three scores that are used to find the overall score - the "basic requirements" index, the "efficiency enhancers" index, and the "innovation factors" index - but if you do the math, you'll find that the average of those three numbers (5.50, 5.81, and 5.80) is 5.70, so obviously one or both of the later two numbers carry more weight than the first one.

This doesn't mean that the report is meaningless. While the exact positions of the countries cannot really be used for anything, it's interesting to see the changes over time. E.g. the fact that Germany is places in rank 7 is in itself not really revealing, but it's noteworthy that it has slipped two ranks since last year (swapping places with Japan).

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