Friday Fantasy

A tasty tidbit for a Friday afternoon’s delectation:

Always a fan of facts and figures, this Kat has just learned that the World Economic Forum has recently published its "Global Competitiveness Report" for 2010-11. Topping the scales at a little over 500 pages, the Report contains a “detailed profile for each of the [139] economies featured in the study as well as an extensive section of data tables with global rankings covering over 100 indicators.” It is, as I’m sure you will have already concluded from this brief summary, a ripping-good yarn.

By combining publicly available data with “the Executive Opinion Survey”, a “comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the study”, the report provides a ranking system for the 139 states covered.

This is all well and good, but it would not appear on these pages if there was not an IP angle to the story – and here it is:

Within the report’s many datasets are two that particularly caught this Kat’s eye. The first is a ranking according to best IP protection (p.367). According to the list, the 10 states offering the best IP protection are:

1 Sweden
2 Finland
3 Singapore
4 Switzerland
5 Luxembourg
6 France
7 New Zealand
8 Puerto Rico
9 Germany
10 Netherlands

The UK came in at number 17 on the list (sandwiched between Norway and Hong Kong). The U.S. ranked 24th. At the bottom of the list lies the trio of Venezuela, Burundi and Bolivia.

The next dataset of interest is that of “Capacity for Innovation”. This time, the top 10 consists of:

1 Germany
2 Japan
3 Sweden
4 Switzerland
5 Finland
6 United States
7 Israel
8 France
9 Denmark
10 Netherlands

The U.K. once again misses out on a top 10 spot coming in at number 15 on the list, just above Luxembourg

How, I hear you ask, did the Report’s authors come up with this ranking system? Well, somewhat sadly, this is not the result of strange magic or economic omniscience; both lists were in fact compiled based on survey evidence, respondents being asked: “How would you rate intellectual property protection, including anti-counterfeiting measures, in your country? [1 = very weak; 7 = very strong]”, and “In your country, how do companies obtain technology? [1 = exclusively from licensing or imitating foreign companies; 7 = by conducting formal research and pioneering their own new products and processes] respectively.”

Whilst one can't help feeling that the 13,500-plus Executives and other miscellaneous business leaders that were questioned might not have been best placed to rate their countries in these, and other, categories (and there is no mention of how these same executives saw their country performing in relation to others), the report still makes an entertaining read for the fact obsessed.

Therefore, if you have ever had a hankering to know the internet bandwidth in Mb/s per 10,000 population (p.469) or the number of scheduled available airline seat kilometers per week originating in country (p.393), or even want figures on the soundness of a country’s banks (p.460) then this is the Report for you. [In case you were wondering, Iceland is 137th (out of 139) in the list of sound banks, just ahead of Ukraine and Ireland.

Link to the report here [.pdf warning].
Link to the press release here:

Friday Fantasy Friday Fantasy Reviewed by Matt on Friday, September 10, 2010 Rating: 5

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