Wednesday, October 31, 2007

French Competitiveness

The World Economic Forum ranks countries on competitiveness in the global economy. The methods used are controversial and rely heavily on the opinions of CEOs rather than more objective data, though of course the opinions and expectations of CEOs are certainly not without influence on the evolution of the system. In any case, France ranks 18th this year: a respectable position and certainly no comfort for "declinists" who argue that France has fallen by the wayside and can no longer compete. The United States, which returns to the number 1 position after being eclipsed last year by Switzerland, is rated high primarily because of its "capacity for innovation," prowess in research and development, and remarkable institutions of higher education. Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland, and Singapore also score well. An earlier post, in which I note that several of these countries outspend France by a considerable margin in higher education, suggests one area where additional French investment might yield a good dividend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Economists tend to be very sceptic about this kind of rankings. See Econoclaste (the best economics weblog in french) about the WEF last year, and Olivier Bouba-Olga about the World Bank "Doing Business" report. The main problem, beyond measurement issues, is that the concept of competiveness is really fuzzy (see Krugman's criticisms for example).