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Criterion of the Month archive

The World Competitiveness Newsletter is written by Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, Dr Christos Cabolis, Chief Economist or Dr José Caballero, Senior Economist. It includes information drawn from the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook.

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January 2018

The German election & sentiments on migration

Mrs. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, has led her country in successful economic performance since she took office in 2005. Indeed, Germany exhibits increasing values in the traditional economic indicators. 

February 2018

Gender inequality and R&D | Do competitive economies employ the highest share of women researchers?

Two years ago, the United Nations set a thought-provoking and aspiring agenda for sustainable development to be accomplished by 2030.




Gender parity: Key trends in women's empowerment


To celebrate the many accomplishments by women and acknowledge the on-going efforts for gender parity, this issue of the Criterion of the Month explores the evolution of three key areas of women participation and decision-making in the last decade.




 What makes countries happier?

Research on what affects the levels of happiness of an individual, organization or country has been growing across different academic fields because of its importance to managers, business leaders and policy makers alike. The relationship between different measurements of income and happiness is multi-faceted. 


January 2017

The continuous attractiveness of Switzerland: Talent availability and other sources of competitiveness

Why do MNCs such as Philip Morris and ABB choose Switzerland as a base for their operations? There are several significant factors that define the attractiveness of Switzerland.



Business efficiency and productivity (Part I) 

The actions and policies of government and their outcomes (e.g., infrastructure indicators) affect the efficiency and productivity of the private sector. In this Criterion of the Month, we assess some of the key indicators driving business efficiency and productivity.

March 2017

Competitiveness and gender parity: A long way to go

March 8 marks International Women’s Day: a celebration of the many accomplishments by women as well as the acknowledgement of on-going efforts for gender parity in the social, political and economic spheres. In this issue of the Criterion of the Month, the IMD World Competitive Center recognizes the International Women’s Day by exploring the relationship between competitiveness and different criteria related to women’s activities.

April 2017

Can competitiveness data predict the French election? 

April 23 is the first round of the French Presidential election. As with many recent elections, there is an intense interest in the outcome, especially with Le Pen as a contender and with Trump and Brexit still making daily headlines.


May 2017

A new publication at the IMD World Competitiveness Center: The World Digital Competitiveness Ranking

Technology changes at great speed and affects not only how businesses function but also how countries perform today and evolve in the future. From 3D-printing, robotics, and neuro-technology to digital-currencies and e-participation the landscape of current capabilities and future prospects changes swiftly. In order for the decision makers in both public and private sectors of an economy to address this rapid transformation, it needs to be quantified and accounted for.

June 2017

Do more adaptive economies exhibit higher productivity?

The new ranking recently released by the IMD World Competitiveness Center prompts to a host of different inquiries, particularly with respect to the new criteria utilized.



Brexit: A Year After

It is a little more than a year since Britain surprised pundits and analysts by voting to exit the European Union. In the last few months, economic and financial publications have been comparing the evolution of different dimensions of the economy. The general picture is not encouraging with consumer prices rising above the Bank of England’s target, real weekly earnings decreasing, and the pound declining in comparison to the dollar and other currencies.

August 2017

Business efficiency and productivity (part II)

In this Criterion of the Month, we continue to explore the relationship between business efficiency and productivity, and the institutional framework.

September 2017

Education dilemmas in the digital era

September marks the beginning of the academic year for most of the northern hemisphere. It is the time to make decisions over what courses to take and which disciplines to study. 

October 2017

Government transparency: Are we better off than a decade ago?

Transparency on the government level has been a key issue for more than a decade. Theoretical and empirical work along with the advocacy of NGOs have strengthened the idea, have suggested ways to measure it, and have kept the issue on the forefront of any discussion about the necessary conditions that a high-quality government must follow.



Has the world become more globalized?

How open an economy is affects its size and the level of competitivenessof the country. The free flow of goods and services, talent, and ideas benefits economies in many ways from making them more efficient to transferring know-how, to facilitating the adoption of new technologies. 

December 2017

Is the flow of skilled labor related to the agility of an economy?

eflecting on the popular topics for 2017, two themes stand out among those which captured the interest of researchers and commentators. First, the extent to which economies successfully address the future loss of employment due to the introduction of new technologies; and second, the benefits associated with the general concept of globalization.




Can Executives Predict The Market?

In the 2015 IMD World Competitiveness Executive Survey, we asked our executives to predict their country’s stock market performance for the year. This was a pioneering study trying to assess the forecasting ability of business executives, or alternatively the importance of sentiment in stock markets. 



Competitiveness and Digital Challenges

The IMD World Competitiveness Center recently partnered with Accenture (Germany and Switzerland) to conduct a study about digitization trends and the digital challenges that German and Swiss companies are facing. The study incorporates 247 survey responses from German executives and 396 responses from Swiss executives. We assess the impact of digitization on the competitive context and the digital practices that the competitive firms adopt in such environments. 

March 2016


Innovation, values and high-tech trade

The IMD World Competitiveness Center in partnership with Thailand’s Department of Trade Negotiations (Ministry of Commerce) recently organized an event aimed at improving Thailand’s competitiveness. The three-day event included several interrelated activities and culminated in a highly dynamic and interactive workshop – a “Mega Dive.”


April 2016

Social disparities and competitiveness

Data show that a structural transformation is a precondition for increasing competitiveness. Such transformation entails enabling all individual members of society to fully participate and contribute to economic activities.

May 2016


IMD Releases Its 2016 World Competitiveness Ranking 

The USA has surrendered its status as the world’s most competitive economy after being overtaken by China Hong Kong and Switzerland, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Center


June 2016


Policy stability and government efficiency

There are certain particularities that underline the competitiveness of countries. We consider these characteristics as attractiveness indicators and asked respondents to our Executive Opinion Survey to select the top five indicators (from a list of 15) for their respective economies.

September 2016



IMD World Competitiveness Ranking: Survey and hard data

Following up on feedback from several readers, in this criterion of the month we explore the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking’s core components: its hard and survey data elements. 


October 2016


Structure and Drivers of Digital Competitiveness

Using the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook’s data for 2016, we develop a measure of Digital Competitiveness; that is, the adequacy of the different components of an economy’s structure for facilitating its digitalization.

November 2016


The 2016 IMD World Talent Report

A major global study has identified crisis-riddled Europe as home to nine of the 10 economies best equipped to develop, attract and retain business talent.






Brain drain, is it beneficial?

At first glance, it seems obvious that brain drain is a significant cost to emerging economies. However, some academic observers (e.g., Mountford, 1997; Beine, Docquier and Rapoport, 2001) have argued that brain drain is beneficial. They posit that the possibility of migration encourages investment in education because of the potential high returns abroad from educated migrants. Arguably, brain drain can thus eventually increase income equality in the country of origin.

February 2015


How will currency fluctuations impact competitiveness?

The latest currency fluctuation wave in Europe will indeed impact several competitiveness criteria. In terms of the World Competitiveness Yearbook hard statistics, such an impact will be felt in the long-term. Changes in exchange rates will resonate, for example, in indicators such as stock prices and export sales for 2016 (if not later).


Following up on feedback from several readers, in this criterion of the month we explore the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking’s core components: its hard and survey data elements.