World's Most Competitive Countries

Finland leads the list of the World Economic Forum's most competitive economy in the world. The U.S. is number two.
October 15, 2004, 11am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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Finland remains the most competitive economy in the world and tops the rankings for the second consecutive year in The Global Competitiveness Report 2004-2005, released today by the World Economic Forum. The United States is in second position, followed by Sweden, Taiwan, Denmark and Norway, consecutively.

"The Nordic countries are characterized by excellent macroeconomic management overall – they are all running budget surpluses – they have extremely low levels of corruption, with their firms operating in a legal environment in which there is widespread respect for contracts and the rule of law, and their private sectors are on the forefront of technological innovation. These countries prove the point that enhanced competitiveness and boosting the capacity of economies to operate effectively in the global economy is a multifaceted challenge requiring concerted actions on a number of fronts," said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chief Economist and Director of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Programme.

In Europe the most notable developments are: the sharp improvement in the relative position of the United Kingdom, which has moved up 4 places to 11 in the overall rankings; the stellar performance of Estonia (20), which is by a significant margin the most competitive economy among the 10 countries that joined the EU in May of this year; and the continued decline of Italy (47, compared to 26 in 2001), which now has the lowest rank among the EU-15 and a lower rank than many of the accession countries. Italy’s worsening performance affects all areas, with particularly sharp drops in the area of quality of public institutions (e.g., judicial independence, favoritism in public sector decision-making and the business costs of crime).

A complete list of country rankings and the full text of the report are available on the World Economic Forum website.

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 in BBC News
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