Attilio Di Battista
Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz
World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum has been measuring the drivers of competitiveness for over three decades. Since its creation in 1979 by Professor Klaus Schwab, the index has evolved continuously to capture the changing needs of countries as well as the evolving nature of competitiveness. Since 2005 the main tool for benchmarking competitiveness has been the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), produced in collaboration with Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martín of Columbia University.1
The GCI represented the latest thinking on national competitiveness at the time of its introduction. However, in the last 10 years economic thinking has evolved and recent events have brought to light new elements that affect competitiveness, once again calling for a review. For example, the recent global financial crisis highlighted new channels through which a country’s competitiveness can be affected by global financial fragilities; furthermore, the speed and modes of technological change have redefined how economists think about the innovation process. Recently the role of information technologies in how production is structured has changed and new consumption models, such as the “sharing economy,” are emerging. In addition, new indicators have become available that can provide better measurements of established concepts.
To capture these developments, the World Economic Forum has embarked on a two-year process of reviewing and modernizing the index.2 While most of the factors that were believed to determine competitiveness 10 years ago are still believed to do so today, to remain at the cutting edge the GCI methodology needs to be brought up to date with new elements and improved measurements. By doing so, the updated GCI will provide policymakers, businesses, and civil society with a better assessment of countries’ economic performance.
This chapter therefore has two purposes. First, it restates the importance of those long-established drivers of productivity captured by the current GCI, providing an extensive literature review. Second, it introduces relevant new concepts that modernize our thinking on specific elements—mainly in the domains of innovation, education, and finance, the main components that will distinguish the updated GCI from the current version presented in Chapter 1.1 of this Report.