In the globalized world of today, increasing national competitiveness has become an important policy target for any country. While engaging in mutually beneficial trade, technological and cultural exchanges, countries find themselves in a race for scarce mobile resources such as financial capital and talent. Winning in this race are those locations that offer the best conditions for economic activity – skilled and disciplined labor force, high-quality services and urban amenities, transparent and efficient public administration, etc. These locations – not only countries, but also regions and cities – serve as magnets for investment and people, and are able to grow and reach prosperity, the ultimate goal of economic policy.
What is it that makes some countries more competitive than others? Understandably, a lot depends on inherited conditions: cultural norms such as punctuality (not Georgia’s main strength), decency and hospitality, the quality of local labor and firms, geographic location, natural resource endowment, etc. As is becoming increasingly obvious, a key role in attracting resources is played by the quality of national institutions: strength of democracy, health and education systems, rule of law, an independent judiciary, and protection of property rights. These institutions can be reformed, as Georgia has proven, and hence their prominence in the competitiveness debate. Finally, specific government policies are very important in ensuring security and macroeconomic stability, providing public services and infrastructure, facilitating regional collaboration, trade, travel, and communication with the rest of the world.
Georgia's Competitiveness is discussed in the ISET Economist Blog.