Another rung

The Ladder of Competitiveness: How to Climb it
League tables of competitiveness give an easily comparable ranking of the global economic performance, but they leave underlying questions unanswered. Why are the “poor” countries four times less productive than the “rich” ones, for instance? And what do these rankings say about the role of human capital, or financial markets or physical infrastructure?
In an effort to correct for this, a new study by the OECD Development Centre, The Ladder of Competitiveness: How to Climb it, presents three rankings to emphasise different factors. The standard ranking covers 51 countries and is based on total productivity: Japan comes in first, while Bangladesh is last. One alternative ranking is aimed at firms wanting to invest in a country. On this scale, the US comes first and India last. The third ranking is destined for investors interested in trade: Sweden ranks first and Central African Republic last.Of the 51 countries ranked, balanced countries like the US, Norway and Sweden still come out on top, yet the authors conclude that in terms of competition, that does not mean a country is not vulnerable. Japan, for instance, comes in first in productivity and ranks second on the “investor” scale, but drops to 24th in “exporter” ranking. ISBN 9264028277See the order form or www.oecdbookshop  for ordering details. ©OECD Observer No. 258/259, December 2006


Economic data

GDP growth: +0.2% Q4 2019
Consumer price inflation: 1.7% March 2020
Trade (G20): -0.1% exp, -1.3% imp, Q4 2019
Unemployment: 5.6% March 2020
Sharp drop in OECD leading indicators point to darker outlook: Last update: 14 May 2020

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