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IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2015

13. oktober 2015

Defining competitiveness is not an excact science. However, it is one way to express the strive for prosperity and productivity in a country. It is also a dynamic way to describe how advanced an economy is with respect to innovation driven development.

Photo: IMD World Competitiveness Center

Photo: IMD World Competitiveness Center

 By Special Adviser Astrid Langeland, Innovation Norway

Last week we presented the ranking of Norway as # 11, ranked by the Global Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in September 2015. However, three months earlier Norway is ranked as # 7 on the World Competitiveness scoreboard announced in May 2015 by IMD World Competitiveness Center.

This discrepancy may be due to the qualitative information drawn from the two separate surveys the two organizations arrange among excecutive leaders, but also from different weighting of each of the around 300 considered factors in the calculations of the results. The two scoreboards are also based on separate theoretical platforms, which are continuosly improved.

Asian countries move forward in their own pace

It is instructive to elaborate on the fact that IMD ranks Asian countries higher; with USA, Hong Kong and Singapore as top three. This is compared to the WEF ranking; with Switzerland, Singapore and USA as top three. Both rankings have seven Asian countries among the top thirty: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Korea and Japan. In addition Thailand is included in the IMD group.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong earn their top ranking in spite of a norwegian level of innovation and business sophistication. Their basic business environment requirements like infrastructure, institutions and macroeconomic environment in addition to business efficiency enhancers like higher education, health and labor market efficiency make their way to the top.

The Asian presence on the scoreboards has been stable at least the last ten years, with minor changes in the ranking. China, however, fluctuated the last decade between # 15 to # 30 and are now ranked as # 22 (IMD) and # 28 (WEF) in 2015.

Japan, how are you?

An extraordinary discrepancy is uncovered for Japan. The the same year 2015 Japan is ranked both as # 27 (IMD) and # 6 (WEF). IMD explains the low ranking with challenges within fiscal measures and cultural factors as utilization of human resources, transition to a problem solving advanced nation and economic integration with the global economy.

On the other hand, WEF finds that Japan performs well in the more complex areas of competitiveness: businesses are highly sophisticated employing unique products and production processes with large control over international distribution. Similarly, high-quality research institutions and company spending on R&D coupled with an excellent availability of scientists and engineers contribute to the country’s overall highly innovative environment.

Both IMD and WEF, however, agree on the poor macroeconomic environment in Japan. Thus the two organizations demonstrate that the scoreboards are tools to track developments and to benchmark and analyze strengths and weaknesses. They do not provide any established truths.



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