Sins of world’s most competitive economies

In its latest report on global competitiveness for 2012–2013 the World Economic Forum has covered a record number of 144 economies, which were ranked in 12 pillars of competitiveness encompassing more than 100 indicators.

Next to all praises it also goes from the data that even the front-runners have areas where they are lagging behind. In fact, this may be not surprising if we observe the worsening general macroeconomic environment or shortages in labour market efficiency within a global picture of today’s protracted economic uncertainty. Thus, lets take a look at top ten world economies, one by one, and lets keep it in a whisper.

The top one on the list is Switzerland, which leads the remaining 143 countries across the board of indicators, but could do a bit better in protecting investors (being 130th out of 144 countries) or reducing debt (94). Singapore is in the second place, with a higher level of government debt (135) and a low rate of women participation (81).

Then goes Finland, being third, having an inflexible wage determination (137) and relatively heavy hiring and firing practices (80). Sweden, in the fourth place, has similar tendencies in wage determination flexibility (135) and stringent practices (133). The Netherlands, the fifth on the list, similarly to Sweden and Finland is in 130th place on wage determination and 126th on inflexible practices and, hopefully, the new Government will do better in balancing the budget too (109). Next comes Germany, being sixth, with higher government debt (126), inflexible wage determination (139) and rather heavy hiring and firing practices (127).

The United States, being seventh on the list, should work further on fronts of government budget balance (140), the debt (136), low national savings (114) and one may note its high dependency on imports (142). The United Kingdom, in the eighth place, could make a bit better in the direction of stable macroeconomic environment – budget balance (137), national savings (113) and government debt (127).

Hong Kong, in the ninth place, could do a bit better on primary (68) and secondary (85) education enrolment as well as on gender equality (82). Finally, Japan, which closes the top ten with high government debt (144), high budget deficit (143), dependency on imports (143) and rather inflexible labour hiring and firing practices (134).

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