Monday 10 October 2011

EU2020: Learning from the best

After the series about the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), I reported the publication of a new Digital Agenda for Sweden and then took a first look at policy outcomes in Denmark in the light of the competitiveness, growth and employment aims of the Europe 2020 strategy (EU2020). Next we looked at the twelve pillars of competitiveness wisdom, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Learning from the best

We have just scratched the surface of the comparative report on productivity and growth potential globally:

Klaus Schwab (Editor): The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 (World Economic Forum WEF; 527 pages)

Those who are interested in EU2020-related economic reform issues at national or EU level notice that among the 142 countries and territories ranked, the two top positions go to countries outside the European Union.

Switzerland remains the WEF World Champion, most notably with regard to innovation, technological readiness and labour market efficiency, but also due to its strong showing in practically every category (page 11 summary).

Singapore advanced to second place due to its excellent institutions, as well as its efficient goods, labour and financial markets (page 11-12 summary).

The following top ten emerged from the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2011-2012 rankings (page 15):

1. Switzerland
2. Singapore
3. Sweden
4. Finland
5. United States
6. Germany
7. Netherlands
8. Denmark
9. Japan
10. United Kingdom

Instructive summaries follow for the individual countries.


Between 2005 and 2011 the United States has declined from first to fifth position, but let us remember the big differences between the states. When the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation ITIF benchmarked innovation and competitiveness in the European Union and the United States, it found many worrying signs for both.

However, ITIF also found that Massachusetts and eight other states are on the top of the world:

Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Delaware, Maryland, Colorado, and New Hampshire are more innovative than any nation in the world. Only Finland breaks into the top 10. In other words, nine states lead all nations in the world in terms of innovation-based competitiveness. If it were a nation, Massachusetts would lead the world by a large margin, scoring 18 points above California and 38 points higher than Finland. Massachusetts has set itself apart in several indicators, as the only state or country to have business R&D investment levels over 5 percent of domestic product, over 0.5 percent of domestic product in venture capital, and over two-thirds of its college aged population having a college degree. But even the ninth most innovative state, New Hampshire, leads the EU-25 on all measures but venture capital and broadband.

For those who work to turn their national reform programme (NRP) or the EU2020 aims into real progress, learning from the best is essential. The WEF top ten and the nine most competitive and innovative US states are among the places to look.

Ralf Grahn

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