Country rankings: The World Competitiveness Yearbook and country rankings

Country rankings in the IMD World Competitiveness Center's World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY), evaluate how countries manage the totality of their resources and competencies to increase prosperity. Competitiveness goes beyond measures of GDP and productivity because there are political, social and cultural factors that affect competitiveness. Competitive countries provide a context that is underlined by an efficient structure, institutions and supported by policies that encourage the competitiveness of enterprises. For this reason the WCY country rankings take into account hundreds of criteria grouped in four fundamental dimensions or factors of competitiveness which in turn are divided into sub-factors.

The first factor encompassed by the WCY country rankings is Economic Performance which undertakes a macro-economic evaluation of the domestic economy by considering measures of the domestic economy, international trade, international investment, employment and prices. The second factor summarized by the WCY country rankings is Government Efficiency. This factor contemplates the extent to which government policies are conducive to competitiveness. The components of this factor are public finance, fiscal policy, institutional framework, business legislation and societal framework. Business Efficiency is the third factors covered by the WCY country rankings. Business Efficiency analyzes the extent to which the national environment encourages enterprises to perform in an innovative, profitable and responsible manner. It does so by studying a country's productivity and efficiency, its labor market, finance, management practices and the prevalent attitudes and values. The WCY country rankings also consider an Infrastructure factor. The latter analyzes the extent to which a country's basic, technological, scientific and human resources meet the needs of business. This factor incorporated measures of basic infrastructure, technological infrastructure, scientific infrastructure, health and environment and education.

The WCY country rankings are underlined by quantitative and qualitative data; their overall weight in the final rankings is 2/3 and 1/3 respectively. Quantitative data or hard statistics are gathered from several international, national and regional organizations; for example, the OECD, World Bank, the UN, WTO, UNESCO and Partner Institutes worldwide. Qualitative data, compiled through an annual Executive Opinion Survey quantify competitiveness issues that are difficult to capture and measure, for example, management practices, labor relations, corruption, environmental concerns or quality of life. In addition, survey data remain more recent and thus provide a "snap-shot of current events" because there is no time lag, which is often a problem with hard statistics that offer a "picture of the past." To put it shortly, the hard statistic component of the WCY country rankings analyze competitiveness as it can be measured (e.g. GDP) whereas its survey data component analyze competitiveness as it is perceived by the actors involved in the process. Moreover, an extensive use of hard statistics brings greater objectivity and reliability to the WCY country rankings.


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Recommended readings

IMD World Competitiveness Center (several years). IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook. Lausanne: IMD World Competitiveness Center.

Suggested websites

The IMD World Competitiveness Center's Yearbook