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The Global Competitiveness Report was originally co-published by the IMD World Competitiveness Center and the World Economic Forum (WEF) under the title of "World Competitiveness Report." Subsequently, from this collaboration, two publications evolved. In 1996, the name of the report published by the IMD World Competitiveness Center was officially changed to World Competitiveness Yearbook after the co-publication with the WEF ended. Both IMD and WEF began to publish their own World Economy Rankings and eventually, the WEF's publication will become the global competitiveness report.
Conceptually there are parallels between the World Competitiveness Yearbook and the Global Competitiveness Report understandings of competitiveness. (not to be confused with world education rankings) For the Global Competitiveness Report competitiveness is "the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be reached by an economy" (WEF, 2014). According to the World Competitiveness Yearbook, competitiveness is the "ability of a nation to create and maintain an environment that sustains more value creation for its enterprises and more prosperity for its people" (IMD World Competitiveness Center, 2014). Both reports, in other words, highlight the importance of prosperity as the ultimate outcome of competitiveness.
There are, however, fundamental differences between the IMD World Competitiveness Center's World Competitiveness Yearbook and the WEF's Global Competitiveness Report. First, 338 criteria are comprised in the World Competitiveness Yearbook compared to less than 120 in the Global Competitiveness Report. Second, the World Competitiveness Yearbook focuses more on hard statistics (66%) from international, national and regional organizations while incorporating an executive survey component (34% of the data). Conversely, the Global Competitiveness Report puts more emphasis on survey data (70%).
The impact of the focus on different types of data is evident in the sample size of both publications. While the Global Competitiveness Index covers 144 economies (as of 2014), the World Competitiveness Yearbook covers 60 countries. This difference is due to the availability of hard data as it is nearly impossible to gather any hard data for many of the world's economies. Additionally, the hard data/survey data focus raises the issue of, on the one hand, constructing a ranking largely on subjective opinion data which may be difficult to manage efficiently and may become ‘volatile' overtime. On the other hand, an approach based almost entirely on hard data produces a more objective competitiveness index.
IMD World Competitiveness Center (2014). IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014. Lausanne: IMD World Competitiveness Center.
WEF(2014). The Global Competitiveness Report 2014–2015. Geneva: World Economic Forum.