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Competitiveness and the Benchmarking of Nations—A Critical Reflection

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  • Thomas Berger

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  • Gillian Bristow

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Abstract

This paper provides a critical evaluation of the role and validity of indices used to measure national competitiveness. It examines the growth in the number and range of such indices and explores their growing importance in benchmarking national economic performance. It also provides a detailed critical interrogation of four of the most commonly used indices, and examines their robustness in relation to their ability to predict overall economic performance. The results indicate that the indices are poor proxies and predictors of growth and are thus potentially misleading for policy-makers. The paper concludes by reflecting on the broader benchmarking and image-making role played by competitiveness indices. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2009

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Berger & Gillian Bristow, 2009. "Competitiveness and the Benchmarking of Nations—A Critical Reflection," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 15(4), pages 378-392, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:iaecre:v:15:y:2009:i:4:p:378-392:10.1007/s11294-009-9231-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s11294-009-9231-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gillian Bristow, 2005. "Everyone's a 'winner': problematising the discourse of regional competitiveness," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(3), pages 285-304, June.
    2. Wolfgang Ochel & Oliver Röhn, 2006. "Ranking of Countries - The WEF, IMD, Fraser and Heritage Indices," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(2), pages 48-60, 07.
    3. Lall, Sanjaya, 2001. "Competitiveness Indices and Developing Countries: An Economic Evaluation of the Global Competitiveness Report," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(9), pages 1501-1525, September.
    4. Paul Krugman, 1997. "Pop Internationalism," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262611333, March.
    5. McFetridge, D., 1995. "Competitiveness Concepts and Measures," Gouvernement du Canada - Industrial Organization 5, Gouvernement du Canada - Industry Canada.
    6. Francis J. Greene & Paul Tracey & Marc Cowling, 2007. "Recasting the City into City-Regions: Place Promotion, Competitiveness Benchmarking and the Quest for Urban Supremacy," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(1), pages 1-22.
    7. Camagni, Roberto, 2002. "On the concept of territorial competitiveness: sound or misleading?," ERSA conference papers ersa02p518, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Boltho, Andrea, 1996. "The Assessment: International Competitiveness," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 1-16, Autumn.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    National competitiveness; Indicators; Indices; Benchmarking; Economic development; F01-1; F01; O10;

    JEL classification:

    • F01 - International Economics - - General - - - Global Outlook
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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