Member of the Managing Board
Since the onset of the financial crisis, the question of how to unlock new sources of productive employment and translate economic growth into broad-based progress in living standards has preoccupied political and business leaders in developed and developing countries alike. These challenges have been among the foremost concerns of the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report surveys. While a widespread international consensus now exists on the need for more socially-inclusive models of growth and development, little in the way of concrete policy guidance has emerged. There is a growing need for analytical frameworks and evidence-based solutions suited to this purpose.
As a part of the Forum’s Global Challenge Initiative on Economic Growth and Social Inclusion, this Report seeks to improve understanding of how countries can make use of a diverse spectrum of policy incentives and institutional mechanisms in order to widen social inclusion in the process and benefits of economic growth without dampening incentives to work, save, and invest. Building upon the existing empirical and benchmarking work of the Forum and its partner international organizations, over 140 quantitative indicators have been assembled on a cross-country basis to provide a comparative illustration of performance and enabling environment conditions in policy domains particularly relevant to the challenge of fostering inclusive economic growth and development. This set of quantitative measures covers 112 countries across seven pillars and fifteen sub-pillars. It is a preliminary beta version intended to stimulate discussion and advance further research. A second part of the project will examine and compare successful policy and institutional approaches in many of these domains, as well as best corporate and public-private practices.
By giving policymakers, business leaders, and other stakeholders a clearer sense of the extent to which their country is exploiting available policy space and best practice based on peer and historical experience, the analytical framework and cross-country benchmarking presented in this Report are intended to help make discussions about inequality less vaguely aspirational and more concretely actionable. Discussions at the Forum’s Regional and Annual Meetings over the next two years will be designed to refine and consider the implications of this analytical framework. The dialogue will continue on the Forum’s new interactive Global Agenda Platform and engage its Global Agenda Council community in an effort to support a more informed and ultimately more productive debate about the options available to countries.2
With its uniquely interdisciplinary intellectual and decision-making communities, the Forum aspires to make a contribution to the international community on one of the most complex and politically-pressing challenges of our time. By convening economists, policymakers, leaders, and experts from diverse policy domains and countries for a structured series of evidence-based discussions, we hope to contribute to a better appreciation within societies of how an aspiration for a more inclusive model of economic growth and development can be transposed into practical national strategies.
We are grateful for the cooperation of key international organizations which are advancing work on important dimensions of this subject. In this respect, we would particularly like to thank Kaushik Basu, Indermit Gill, and Melanie Walker at the World Bank; Jose Manuel Salazar, Rafael Diez de Medina, and Philippe Marcadent at the International Labour Organization; Gabriela Ramos, Stefano Scarpetta, and Lamia Kamal-Chaoui at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; and Jonathan Ostry at the International Monetary Fund.
Appreciation also goes to colleagues at the World Economic Forum, namely Jennifer Blanke, Gemma Corrigan and Margareta Drzeniek; the Global Competitiveness Team, in particular team members Thierry Geiger, Attilio Di Battista, Roberto Crotti, Caroline Galvan, Gaelle Dreyer, Jonathan Eckart and Stefan Hall. We also thank Saadia Zahidi of the Employment and Gender Parity Team and the Society and Innovation Team for their valuable comments and suggestions. The contribution of our Partner Institutes in administering the Executive Opinion Survey is also gratefully acknowledged. We also appreciate the efforts of members of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Inclusive Growth to bring these ideas to life.
Finally, we wish to thank the many institutions – public and private – whose data are incorporated into this analysis. In addition to publicly-available data from international organizations, including those referenced above, a number of other institutions have made special arrangements to provide data and methodological guidance. In this respect, we would like to thank Richard Dobbs and Susan Lund at McKinsey Global Institute; Peter Egger and Nora Strecker at ETH; Frederick Solt at the University of Iowa; Alberto Manconi at Tilburg University; Manos Antoninis and Friedrich Huebler at UNESCO; and Manuel Hörl at the Credit Suisse Research Institute.
Geneva, September 2015