The Global Competitiveness Report 2009–2010

the report in pdf can be downloaded here

Summary for Switzerland
According to the yearly survey conducted by WEF (World Economic Forum), Switzerland overtakes the United States this year as the world’s most competitive economy. This is explained by the fact that Switzerland’s performance has remained relatively stable, whereas the United States has seen a weakening across a number of areas, as discussed below. Switzerland’s economy continues to be characterized by an excellent capacity for innovation and a very sophisticated business culture, ranked 3rd for its business sophistication and 2nd for its innovation capacity. The country is characterized by high spending on R&D.

Switzerland’s scientific research institutions are among the world’s best, and the strong collaboration between the academic and business sectors ensures that much of this research is translated into marketable products and processes, reinforced by strong intellectual property protection. This strong innovative capacity is captured by the high rate of patenting (148.27 per million inhabitants) in the country, for which Switzerland ranks 7th worldwide on a per capita basis. Switzerland’s public institutions are rated among the most effective and transparent in the world (7th), ensuring a level playing field and enhancing business confidence; these include an independent judiciary, a strong rule of law, and a highly accountable public sector. Competitiveness is also buttressed by excellent infrastructure (5th) and a well-functioning goods market (5th), as well as a labor market that is among the most efficient in the world (2nd, just behind Singapore).And Switzerland’s macroeconomic environment, although weakening somewhat since last year, continues to be assessed as stable compared in particular with the United States and many European neighbors (ranked 17th).

On the other hand, the university enrollment rate of 47 percent continues to lag behind many other high-innovation countries, placing the country 46th on this indicator. Although gaps are currently being filled through immigration, efforts should be made to boost higher education attainment to ensure sufficient national talent. Financial markets have also weakened somewhat, reflecting in particular difficulties in the national banking sector. However, this has been muted compared with many other countries.

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