9 September 2013

The World Economic Forum published the 2013 Global Competitiveness Index last week ahead of the St Petersburg meeting of the G20. The report comprises a comprehensive collation of data. The 144 surveyed jurisdictions are evaluated of 117 elements grouped under 12 competitiveness “pillars”.

This year New Zealand has moved up 4 places to 18th in the competitiveness pecking order. This provides some sense of achievement, overtaking Australia ( now 21st) for the first time.  A concern is that jurisdictions with a number of geographic or social characteristics similar to New Zealand – like Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark – are assessed as much more competitive than New Zealand. Yet these economies are handicapped on the index by their market size in the same way as New Zealand.

Switzerland is the highest scoring jurisdiction for the fifth year. Singapore and Finland follow, then Germany and the United States.

Malaysia is the most competitive country in Asia at 24th, China at 29th is more competitive than the other large emerging market economies, like South Africa (53rd), Brazil (56th), India (60th) and Russia (64th).

Switzerland, ranks best on the index. It is only for institutional elements that New Zealand is markedly better than the average for “innovation driven” economies.

Competitiveness Pillars            NZ rating

• Institutions                                        2nd
• Infrastructure                                  27th
• Macroeconomic environment         43rd
• Health and primary education          5th
• Higher education & training             9th
• Goods market efficiency                  9th
• Labor market efficiency                   8th
• Financial market development        4th
• Technological readiness                 24th
• Market size                                      62nd
• Business sophistication                  26th
• Innovation                                        26th

www.weforum.org/reports/global-competitiveness-report-2013-2014  at page 274-5