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Forbes has rated the business friendliness of the world’s biggest economies annually for the past 13 years. Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the United Kingdom ranked first for the second straight year on the strength of its workforce, innovation and lack of red tape.
We determined the Best Countries for Business by rating 161 nations on 15 different factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, infrastructure, market size, political risk, quality of life, workforce, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape and investor protection. Each category was equally weighted. We only included countries with data across at least 11 categories. The U.K. was the only country to rank among the top 30 countries in each of the categories.
We used the World Bank’s Doing Business report to grade countries’ taxes, investor protection and red tape/bureaucracy. Hong Kong finished first on taxes (and third overall) with Venezuela at the bottom of the 161 countries in our final rank (the U.S. was No. 37 on taxes). Kazakhstan was tops for investor protection with Haiti ranked last. New Zealand was first for red tape (and fifth overall) with Venezuela finishing last. Venezuela also finished last for monetary freedom.
The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom provided the basis for our ratings on trade freedom and monetary freedom. Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland tied on top for trade freedom with Iraq and Yemen ranked last. Hungary was the best for monetary freedom for the third straight year. Personal freedom ratings came from Freedom House’s Freedom in the World report, which deemed more than 33 nations to be the “most free.” The U.S. was not one of them due to, “growing evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, violations of basic ethical standards by the new administration, and a reduction in government transparency.”
Ratings on technology, innovation and infrastructure came compliments of the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Report. Information and communication technology (ICT) adoption was used as a proxy for technology. South Korea was first on ICT adoption with Germany the leader in innovation. Chad and Angola bring up the rear in those categories. Singapore led the infrastructure metric and Haiti ranked last.
We used the Property Rights Alliance’s International Property Rights Index to gauge property rights, which was led by Japan and had Haiti bringing up the rear. The corruption rankings were culled from Transparency International’s widely followed Corruption Perceptions Index with New Zealand on top and Syria on the bottom.
We tweaked our methodology last year for the first time in a decade after conversations with multiple site selection experts. Stock market performance was out, and we added workforce, infrastructure, market size, quality of life and political risk.
Workforce was based on the size of the labor force and its growth from data from the World Bank. We also factored in the education capabilities in the country per the WEF. The U.S. was first with Barbados last. Market size is strictly a function of the gross domestic product. The U.S. is tops again at $19.5 trillion, while Guinea-Bissau has the smallest economy we ranked at $700 million.
Quality of life ratings came courtesy of the United Nations’ Human Development Index. It weighs life expectancy, years of schooling and gross national income per capita. Norway is first and Niger last among the 161 countries we ranked. Political, economic and operational risk data is based on a study from Marsh & McLennan. It also factors in terrorism. Norway was deemed the lowest risk with Yemen carrying the most risk.
The CIA’s World Factbook and the World Bank were used for economic data and the country profiles.
December 19, 2018 at 09:56AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs