The Netherlands has been ranked 8th in the 2014 Global Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The Netherlands is ranked highly in the individual pillars of primary health and education (ranked 5th globally), higher education and training (3rd), infrastructure (4th) and business sophistication (5th).
Weaker pillars for the Netherlands are financial market development and labour market efficiency.
The World Economic Forum said: As in the last edition, the Netherlands retains its 8th place this year and depicts a stable competitiveness profile. Overall, the country continues to depict a set of important competitiveness strengths that allow its economy to remain highly productive. An excellent education and training system (3rd), coupled with a strong adoption of technology (9th), including ICTs (8th), and an excellent innovation capacity (8th) result in highly sophisticated businesses (5th) that manage to compete at the very high end of international value chains. In addition, efficient institutions (10th), world- class infrastructure (4th), and highly competitive (5th) and open products markets (6th) complete the impressive list of the country’s assets.
Notwithstanding these strengths, the otherwise excellent Dutch performance is somewhat hindered by some persistent rigidities in its labor market, especially in terms of hiring and firing practices (123rd) and wage determination (135th)—these rigidities are regarded as the most problematic factor for doing business in the country. Furthermore, the current weaknesses of its financial system (80th), which are a consequence of the housing bubble, have made access to credit (48th) more difficult.
Within Europe, the Netherlands is ranked 4th, behind Switzerland, Finland and Germany. Switzerland tops the chart, followed by Singapore, the USA, Finland and Germany.
Top 10 Global Competitiveness Index 2014
3 United States
7 Hong Kong
9 United Kingdom
The Global Competitive Index has been running since 2004. The WEF defines competitiveness as “the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.”
The index assesses the economic competitiveness of 144 nations, based on 12 “pillars” which include institutions, infrastructure, health and education, labour market efficiency, technological readiness, innovation and business sophistication.