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Juncal Cuñado Professor at School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra, Spain

Crisis and competitiveness

Tue, 09 Mar 2010 12:54:26 +0000 Published in The Economist

Despite the current economic crisis in which our Economics is immersed, we cannot forget that its long-term growth deadline depends on what we call competitiveness, which encompasses all those factors that enable a Economics to grow at a sustainable rate in the medium and long term deadline. What are these factors that determine competitiveness and that should be strengthened even in difficult times like these, since they will determine the future of our Economics?

The World Economic Forum publishes an annual competitiveness index and a ranking of countries, based on information on 12 variables, including the quality of infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, quality of the Education, efficiency in the labor market, functioning of the financial markets, and technological capacity and innovation, among others. In the latest global ranking published in 2009, our Economics ranks 33rd (out of 133 countries), while in the previous ranking it was 29th. It is also worth noting that our Economics obtains the worst scores in labor market efficiency (97th out of 133), and macroeconomic stability (62nd). In addition, the crisis has caused our Economics to drop significantly in macroeconomic stability (from 20th to 62nd place, mainly due to the increase in public deficit and debt) and in the functioning of financial markets (our Economics has lost 14 places, ranking 50th in this variable).

From this report, we can draw different conclusions. Firstly, we can see that there is no contradiction between policies to combat the current crisis and policies to promote competitiveness. Secondly, labor market reform should be one of the most urgent policies to be implemented in our Economics, both to reduce the high unemployment rate (18.8 percent) that we are currently experiencing and to achieve sustainable growth in the future. Finally, we should not forget all those policies that encourage innovation on the part of companies.