Comparisons and Performance
1.1 THE COMPETITIVENESS CONCEPT A Survey of Theories The intensification of global competition and the increasing openness of national economies seem to have led to an interesting consequence apparently neglected by economic theory so far. Statistical indicators based on the concept of competitiveness have been used more and more as a tool for measuring and benchmarking the performance of national economies. A widely known example is the ranking lists published in the IMD series of Competitiveness Reports. This new conceptual development has a major shortcoming however: the content of competitiveness has not been clarified in the literature. Many authors have used the term, but a single meaning has not been generally accepted. It is used as a measure of performance on markets in some cases, and others consider it as an indicator of macroeconomic performance. It also happens that competitiveness is regarded as an indicator of the technological level or the state of modernization of an economy. A telling example is the UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 1995 (WIR) (UNCTAD, 1995) and also to some extent its successor published seven years later (UNCTAD, 2002). The title of the 1995 report includes the notion of competitiveness, but it is not defined throughout the report at all. Furthermore the authors do not explain what they understand by this term. It could potentially be concluded from this fact that there is a general consensus on what ‘competitiveness’ means. The 1995 WIR offers however a somewhat confused picture. The first two chapters of WIR 1995...
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