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Comparing National Competitive Performance: An Economic Analysis of World Economic Forum's Competitiveness Index

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  • Sanjaya Lall

Abstract

Developing country policy makers worry about national competitiveness and closely watch indices ranking international competitive performance. This paper analyzes from the development economics perspective if competitiveness is a legitimate policy concern, and if the leading indices deserve the attention they get. It assesses the best known index, from the World Economic Forum, and finds grave deficiencies. The WEF definitions are too broad, the approach biased, the methodology flawed and inconsistent, and many measures vague, redundant or wrongly calculated. It concludes that competitiveness indices have weak theoretical and empirical foundations and may be misleading for analytical and policy purposes.

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File URL: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/RePEc/qeh/qehwps/qehwps61.pdf
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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series QEH Working Papers with number qehwps61.

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Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps61

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  1. Erik S. Reinert, . "Competitiveness and its predecessors - a 500-year cross-national perspective," STEP Report series 199403, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  2. Kenny, Charles & Williams, David, 2001. "What Do We Know About Economic Growth? Or, Why Don't We Know Very Much?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-22, January.
  3. Pack, Howard & Westphal, Larry E., 1986. "Industrial strategy and technological change : Theory versus reality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 87-128, June.
  4. Redding, Stephen, 1999. "Dynamic Comparative Advantage and the Welfare Effects of Trade," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 15-39, January.
  5. Jesus Felipe, 1999. "Total factor productivity growth in East Asia: A critical survey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 1-41.
  6. Boltho, Andrea, 1996. "The Assessment: International Competitiveness," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 1-16, Autumn.
  7. Nelson, Richard R & Pack, Howard, 1999. "The Asian Miracle and Modern Growth Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 416-36, July.
  8. Scott Stern & Michael E. Porter & Jeffrey L. Furman, 2000. "The Determinants of National Innovative Capacity," NBER Working Papers 7876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1996. "Some Lessons from the East Asian Miracle," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 151-77, August.
  10. Venables, Anthony J., 1996. "Trade policy, cumulative causation, and industrial development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 179-197, April.
  11. Krugman, Paul R, 1996. "Making Sense of the Competitiveness Debate," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 17-25, Autumn.
  12. Fagerberg, Jan, 1996. "Technology and Competitiveness," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 39-51, Autumn.
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Cited by:
  1. Lotero Contreras, Jorge & Posada Duque, Héctor Mauricio & Valderrama, Daniel, 2009. "Competitiveness of Colombian Departments observed from an Economic geography Perspective," BORRADORES DEPARTAMENTO DE ECONOMÍA 005519, UNIVERSIDAD DE ANTIOQUIA - CIE.
  2. Claudia OGREAN, 2010. "National Competitiveness Between Concept And Reality. Some Insights For Romania," Revista Economica, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 49(1-2), pages 59-72, 04.

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