Article: Wednesday, 27 September 2017

For the second year running, the Netherlands has hung on to a historically high ranking, coming fourth in the Global Competitiveness Index, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, which has just been released by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The research underpinning this annual indicator of international competitiveness was carried out in 137 countries. The data for the Netherlands were collected by the Erasmus Centre for Business Innovation, which is part of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), led by Prof. Henk W. Volberda. The Centre is a partner institute of the World Economic Forum.

The main findings of the report (which can be read here in Dutch) are as follows:

  1. The Netherlands has maintained its leading position in the European Union on account of its strong basis (investments in infrastructure and a sound macro-economic policy). The country is once again ranked fourth in the WEF Global Competitiveness Index.
  2. In addition to a strong basis, the Netherlands now also boasts a world-class innovation ecosystem.
  3. The new government must continue the current ‘top sector policy’ (i.e., focus on selected R&D areas), in conjunction with a regional innovation policy.
  4. The decreasing quality of our higher education is an area of concern.
  5. The current government’s macro-economic policy and the reorganisation of financial markets, along with job market reforms, have considerably strengthened the Netherlands’ international competitiveness.
  6. Making the job market more flexible and providing employees with a higher level of protection will result in more jobs and less inequality.
  7. Switzerland has maintained its top ranking, with the USA being the new runner-up. Hong Kong showed the greatest improvement among the top-10 nations (rank 6), while Singapore, Sweden, the UK and Japan each fell in the rankings by one spot.
  8. Like advanced Western economies, emerging economies are increasingly able to innovate.

Prof. Henk Volberda

Professor of Strategy & Innovation

University of Amsterdam

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