Economic Indicators: The World Competitiveness Yearbook and Economic Indicators

Economic indicators are statistics related to the economic activities of countries. As such, economic indicators assess the health of the economy and enable for the analysis, interpretation and prediction of the economic performance of countries. Economic indicators are an important element of the IMD World Competitiveness Center's World Competitiveness Yearbook.

In the World Competitiveness Yearbook economic indicators (referred to as "hard data" or "hard statistics") are incorporated as elements of the different factors that assess competitiveness. For example, the Economic Performance factor of competitiveness includes measures of the domestic economy of a country, international trade, international investment, employment and prices. Similarly, the Government Efficiency factor encompasses economic indicators of public finance and fiscal policy. The Government Efficiency factor also considers other economic indicators related to the central bank, business legislation and societal framework.

The Business Efficiency factor contains economic indicators of productivity and efficiency, labor market, finance. The Infrastructure factor of competitiveness makes use of several economic indicators related to the country's basic infrastructure, technological infrastructure, scientific infrastructure, health and environment and education. The following table presents examples of economic indicators include in the World Competitiveness Yearbook

Table 1. Economic indicators in the World Competitiveness Yearbook (organized by Competitiveness Factors)

Economic Performance factor Government Efficiency factor Business Efficiency factor Infrastructure factor
Size of the economy Government budget surplus/deficit Overall productivity Population-market size
GDP growth Government debt Agricultural productivity Local energy production
Inflation forecasts Government expenditure Labor productivity Population under specific ages
Unemployment forecasts Tax revenues Labor compensation levels Investment in telecommunication
Balance of trade Corporate tax Unit labor costs in industrial sectors Total expenditure on R&D
Trade to GDP ratio Real short-term interest rate Banking sector assets Total health expenditure
Direct investment flows abroad Cost of capital Investment risks Life expectancy
Employment growth Government subsidies Stock market capitalization Total public expenditure on education
Consumer prices inflation Income distribution Value traded in stock markets Illiteracy

The World Competitiveness Yearbook takes economic indicators from a multitude of international, national and regional sources/organizations. The Yearbook relies heavily on economic indicators (66%) while complementing hard statistics with survey data (34%). Such a reliance somewhat imposes limits on the size of the sample covered by the Yearbook because it is nearly impossible to find reliable economic indicators for many of the world's economies. The Yearbook, however, ensures a higher degree of objectivity through the incorporation of such an extensive array of economic indicators.


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Recommended readings

IMD World Competitiveness Center. IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014. Lausanne: IMD World Competitiveness Center.

Suggested Websites

The IMD World Competitiveness Center's Yearbook