A World of Competition

How do countries compare in an increasingly globalized business environment?


The latest Global Competitiveness Index was released in September and shows that the global economic crisis is making itself felt in various ways across all national economies. The Index, produced by the World Economic Forum, evaluates 139 countries on 12 aspects of competitiveness that cover everything from a country's legal and administrative environment to its physical infrastructure to its level of "business sophistication." The result is a ranking intended to highlight advantages as well as areas ripe for improvement. How much do you know about countries' competitive strengths and weaknesses?

1) Taking the top spot in the Index for the second straight year was:

A. China
B. The United States
C. Singapore
D. Switzerland

2) Among the Top 25 countries, the one moving up the list the most number of places was:

A. Denmark
B. Qatar
C. Israel
D. New Zealand

3) Number of countries in the European Union that made the Top 10 this year:

A. Two
B. Three
C. Four
D. Five

4) After the United States and Canada, the third highest-ranking country in the Western Hemisphere was:

A. Chile
B. Brazil
C. Costa Rica
D. Colombia

5) Of the 12 "pillars" used to evaluate competitiveness, the United States fared the most poorly on:

A. Infrastructure
B. Macroeconomic environment
C. Health and primary education
D. Labor-market efficiency

6) By contrast, the United States ranked #1 in which two of the following four pillars:

A. Market size
B. Higher education and training
C. Technological readiness and training
D. Innovation

7) Asked to choose from a list of 15 factors that make doing business in their country problematic, U.S. respondents chose as the most troublesome factor:

A. Tax rates
B. Access to financing
C. Inefficient government bureaucracy
D. Tax regulations

Source: World Economic Forum, September 2010

Answers: 1–D; 2–B; 3–D; 4–A; 5–B; 6–A & D; 7–B


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