The Best Economies in the World

Print Email

5. United States
> GCI score: 5.48
> GDP per capita: $49,922 (11th highest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 106.5% (9th highest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 81.0% (20th highest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Tax regulations

The United States still faces a weak economic environment, largely due to the nation’s massive government deficit and debt burden. In spite of this, the U.S. was more competitive this year than it was a year ago, up from seventh place to fifth. The U.S. ranked seventh for the availability of financial services, and it was one of the top five nations for the availability of venture capital and the ease of raising money through equity markets. The U.S. also ranked as one of the top countries for attracting and retaining talent. The world’s largest economy is also home to many highly sophisticated businesses, with U.S. companies handling international distribution of their goods and services across the world.

Also Read: States Where the Most People Go Hungry

4. Germany
> GCI score: 5.51
> GDP per capita: $41,513 (21st highest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 82.0% (19th highest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 84.0% (16th highest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Tax regulations

Germany consistently scores well in all major categories the WEF uses to measure competitiveness. In addition to being one of the world’s largest economies, Germany provides its residents with an extremely well-developed infrastructure, top-quality higher education and training, and a sophisticated and innovative private sector. The local availability of research and training services is better in Germany than in all but one other country, behind only Switzerland. Germany also scored in the top 10 in six out of the nine factors in the infrastructure category, including for the quality of its rail and port infrastructure and fixed telephone lines. Germany has a very sophisticated business climate as well, with nine out of 10 factors in this category ranked in the top 10, including a first-place position for value chain breadth.

3. Finland
> GCI score: 5.54
> GDP per capita: $46,098 (16th highest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 53.3% (48th highest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 91.0% (7th highest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Restrictive labor regulations

Finland ranks as the top country in the world for innovation and is also one of the top countries in the world for business sophistication. Finland had the third-best score for company R&D expenditure, and its capacity for innovation ranked second out of 148 countries. Scientists and engineers residing in the country also were considered to be more widely available than comparable professionals in any other country. The WEF gave Finland first place in higher education and training, which is not surprising given the country’s well-regarded education system.

2. Singapore
> GCI score: 5.61
> GDP per capita: $51,162 (10th highest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 111.0% (8th highest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 74.2% (29th highest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Restrictive labor regulations

Singapore has some of the highest quality institutions, as well as some of the best infrastructure and education systems in the world, according to the WEF. The citizens of Singapore have the most trust in their politicians, the most transparent government policymaking and the most efficient legal framework for settling disputes. Singapore’s air transport infrastructure was rated the best out of 148 countries. The tiny country takes its higher education very seriously as well, with a first-place ranking in the quality of math and science education. Singapore’s labor market is reported to be more efficient than that of any other country due in part to its ability to attract talent.

Also Read: The Worst Economies in the World

1. Switzerland
> GCI score: 5.67
> GDP per capita: $79,033 (4th highest)
> Debt as a pct. of GDP: 49.1% (59th highest)
> Pct. of residents using Internet: 85.2% (13th highest)
> Biggest problem in doing business: Inadequately educated workforce

Switzerland topped the list this year as the world’s most competitive economy. The small alpine nation was among the best in the world for both business sophistication and innovation. It was also the top country in the world for local supplier quality and for the amount businesses spent on research and development and university-industry R&D collaboration. Some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world are based in Switzerland and contribute to the country’s strongest competitiveness indicators.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article noted that GDP statistics used by the World Economic Forum reflected Purchasing Power Parity exchange rates. In fact, GDP figures are expressed in current dollars.

RSS Facebook Twitter