These Are the 10 Most Competitive Countries in the World

The Netherlands and India climbed nicely, Brazil tumbled, and the U.S. took some high marks.

Is Lower Productivity Growth the New Normal?

Switzerland, Singapore, and the U.S. are once again taking the top spots in the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, which combines 113 indicators that the WEF believes matter most for countries' productivity.

Here's a look at this year's top 10:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. United States
  4. Germany
  5. Netherlands
  6. Japan
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Finland
  9. Sweden
  10. United Kingdom

In terms of movement, the top three remained in place, but there were some larger moves elsewhere on the full list of 140. The Netherlands was the biggest gainer in the top 10, moving up to No. 5, from No. 8 in the previous report. Brazil saw the biggest fall, tumbling 18 spots to No. 75 and taking the title of the worst performer among BRICS countries. However, India was a bright spot, climbing 16 places and coming in at No. 55. 

Competitiveness is defined as "the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of an economy, which in turn sets the level of prosperity that the country can earn." These indicators include areas such as infrastructure, innovation, and the macroeconomic environment. 

While the report says a majority of advanced economies have recovered from the financial crisis, there are some troubling signs of a new normal by which the global economy isn't growing as fast as it did historically.

If you compare productivity growth over the past 10 years to the prior decade, for instance, many of the dominant countries in the world have seen declines, with India and China being the exceptions. 

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When you break out the seven pillars that the WEF's competitiveness indicators are based on, you can see how far countries have to climb in order to match the best performers in each category. 

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Although the U.S. didn't take a single No. 1 spot, it had high marks in the areas such as innovation, at 4th place.

Here's a look at the full list: 

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