Figures reveal success of small nations

By on 13/04/2014

While larger countries naturally get most of the airtime, small developed countries have done disproportionately well over the last few decades.

How they continue this successful trend in a world of increasing globalisation is a question that has recently been addressed by David Skilling, in a discussion paper published by the Landfall Strategy Group.

In the paper, entitled ‘In Uncertain Seas : Positioning Small Countries to Success in a Changing World’, Skilling highlights facts that are often overlooked when the focus of global attention is on big blocs like China, the Eurozone, the USA and Russia.

He defines a small developed country as having a population of less than 20 million. Examples include Iceland, which has a population of just 330,000, Singapore, with 4.9 million, and Sweden and the Netherlands with 9.2 million and 16.6 million respectively.

Small countries are over-represented in per-capita income levels, Skilling notes. On that measure, seven of the top 10 countries in the world are small. Not only that, but out of the top five countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2011/12) four were small developed countries – Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden and Finland. The USA was the fifth.

The advantages are not just across the economic sphere. On the UN Human Development Index, 14 of the top 20 advanced economies were small advanced countries. Using OECD data, for countries with the highest levels of life satisfaction, nine of the top 10 were small countries.

The data goes on, but the evidence is clear. Now, the focus is on whether such countries continue to attain such strong performance. Skilling says it depends upon their continued ability to adapt, which he thinks has kept them at the top so far.

To read the report in full, click here.

About Kevin Sorkin

Pendragon International Media publish, a community of senior government officials around the world. Global Government Forum is an important international network focusing on impartial, government news, analysis and best practice. The content addresses the real issues facing senior leaders in public service policy and administration today and aims to support them in developing public services for the future. Our aim is to help all organisations engage with this important community by improving understanding and strengthening relationships. I am the founder of the Civil Service Awards and Civil Service Live, which are now established industry leading brands and extremely important events for government. I also launched and published Civil Service World, and Civil Service World Research and Information bringing together the civil service community to enable communication, sharing of best practice, inspire and motivate the civil service community. Over the years I have established relationships with the most senior officials in government and the private sector and have built a very strong and positive reputation across the industry.

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