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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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  • Sanjaya Lall, "undated". "Comparing National Competitive Performance: An Economic Analysis of World Economic Forum's Competitiveness Index," QEH Working Papers qehwps61, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps61
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    File URL: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/RePEc/qeh/qehwps/qehwps61.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. 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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    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    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. 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.
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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, April.

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