The Global Competitiveness Index


The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is the key ingredient of The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) which is a comprehensive assessment of countries’ economic competitiveness, produced by the Global Competitiveness Network (GCN) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). WEF was established in Switzerland in 1971, and is an independent, non-profit organisation which is according to their website “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas”. It is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Government. According to the GCN website the network “(…) identifies obstacles to growth and thereby helps stimulate the development of relevant strategies to achieve sustained economic progress”. The GCN produces several different reports, but the GCR is referred to as their flagship publication. The GCN aims at continuously keeping their reports up to date through cooperation with leading academics and inclusion of the latest thinking and research on global competitiveness.


The Global Competitiveness Index

The Global Competitiveness Index


World Economic Forum - Global Competitiveness


PDF, Excel and on-screen tables





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Data types and sources

The GCI provides a weighted average of over 100 different variables, where each variable is considered to reflect one aspect of competitiveness. Approximately two-thirds of these come from the Executive Opinion Survey (EOS), and one third comes from publicly available sources (i.e. The World Bank, The World Health Organization, UNESCO). The EOS is described as “a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the WEF together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the report”.

Data download

The Global Competitiveness Index 2011-2012


The GCI ranks countries on their global competitiveness. Competitiveness is defined as “the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country” (Schwab 2009: 4). In the 2009-2010 GCR the variables are grouped in 12 pillars of competitiveness. These pillars are further grouped in the subindexes "Basic requirements", "Efficiency enhancers", "Innovation and sophistication factors", and are organised as followed:

Basic requirements

  • Institutions
  • Infrastructure
  • Macroeconomic Stability
  • Health and Primary Education

Efficiency enhancers

  • Higher Education and Training
  • Goods Market Efficiency
  • Labour Market Efficiency
  • Financial Market Sophistication
  • Technological Readiness
  • Market Size

Innovation and sophistication factors

  • Business Sophistication
  • Innovation

The impact of each pillar on competitiveness varies across countries based on what stage of economic development each country has reached, the three stages of economic development being a "factor-driven" stage, an "efficiency-driven" stage, and an "innovation-driven" stage. This is taken into consideration in the calculation of the index by giving the pillars different weights.

Geographical coverage

The geographical coverage varies, with the latest index covering more than 130 countries.

Time coverage and updates

The GCI was officially launched in 2006, and is a more comprehensive version of the previously used Growth Competitiveness Index. GCR was first released in 1979. Both the index and the report are updated annually.


The GCI combines both publicly available data and the EOS. The sources of each variable derived from publically available data are listed in the Technical Notes and Sources section in the GCR. As for the EOS, the report discusses various methodological details regarding conduction, collection, data treatment and computing, as well as data weighting in detail. The results combined with the publically available data are also published in aggregated form in the websites interactive report. A broad insight to methodological questions regarding the weighting of the index is also given in the GCR.

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge.

Access procedures

The rankings are downloadable as predefined tables in PDF and Excel format. There is also an online index analyser that enables you to navigate the results of the GCI and create your own online tables. Comparable time-series data are not available.

Data formats

On-screen tables. Predefined tables downloadable in PDF and Excel format.

Comparability and data quality

While the GCI is frequently referred to in both the media and in academic research, some comments have been made about the general data quality. For instance The Governance Assessment Portal (GAP) claim that “although the CGI assesses several aspects related to governance such as public trust in institutions, judicial independence and corruption, these are limited measures of governance”, and further that there is ”a strong business bias regarding governance related aspects, which is reflected by the questions and respondents of the Executive Opinion Survey”. As a result, they underline that the “GCI should be used very cautiously as a governance index per se” (GAP website).

Comparable time-series data are not available.

Electronic resources

The Global Competitiveness Index Analyzer

The Global Competitiveness Report press release 2009

The Global Competitiveness Network FAQ


Schwab, Klaus. 2011. The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012. Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum.

The Governance Assessment Portal. “The Global Competitiveness Index.” Source Guide to Global Indicators. .