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NCPC Bulletin: International Competitiveness Indicators

Today (22nd December), Dr. Frances Ruane, the Chair of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC), issued the Council’s bulletin on International Competitiveness Indicators (here).


Competitiveness is a complex concept and composite indicators can be a useful tool to assess Ireland’s relative strengths and weaknesses compared to international peers. Over the past 20 years, the NCPC’s Competitiveness Scorecard has drawn primarily on the three most influential annual international competitiveness indicators reports, namely, those of the Institute for Management Development (IMD), the World Economic Forum (WEF), and the World Bank (WB). In light of recent changes to data availability and methodological reviews, the NCPC Secretariat undertook a review of potential additional benchmark data sources to allow the Council to avail of a broader array of indicators. This exercise identified options for indicators which will reflect new global developments and complement the indicators used in previous competitiveness scorecards. These will position the Scorecard to address transformations such as the twin digital and green transitions, and recognition of the importance of sustainability and equality.


In this Bulletin, the Council’s Secretariat reports on Ireland’s current position in relation to the three traditional sets of indicators used, and the additional sources the NCPC will draw on to compile a broader Scorecard planned for 2023.  This greater breadth is consistent with the Council’s mandate which sees the pursuit of greater competitiveness and productivity as being vital stepping stones to support improved living standards and quality of life for all of society, rather than ends in themselves.


The additional indicators under consideration include the Global Innovation Index (GII), the European Regional Competitiveness Index, the World Management Survey, the Digital Economy and Society Index, the OECD Better Life Index, as well as other useful OECD datasets. The precise metrics chosen will be discussed further in the Scorecard report to be issued in 2023. The Council notes that it must ensure that the indicators used in benchmarking Ireland’s performance remain relevant, are broad enough to reflect changing priorities, and allow us to identify areas for improved performance as a small, advanced economy.

Dr. Frances Ruane said: ‘The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council have reported on competitiveness indicators in its Scorecard report for many years. Although, it is well known that these are not perfect measures of competitiveness, they are a useful tool in pointing to Ireland’s relative performance across competitiveness dimensions’.

Dr. Frances Ruane also said: ‘Recent changes to some of the more influential indices used by the Council in the past, and the availability of new data series, have created an opportunity to reflect on the development of additional and wider indicators than previously used.  The Council is aware that the global trends associated with the twin digital and green transitions, and the greater emphasis on sustainability and equality, make this a timely point at which to modernise the Scorecard. The range of competitiveness indicators in the new Scorecard will provide a stronger basis on which to benchmark Ireland’s performance against our competitors and the world’s best performers.’