Terms of Reference for the Assignment:
Is the Irish economy a competitive economy?
[International student may wish to undertake a relative assessment of Ireland’s performance and the competitiveness of their home economy, or to concentrate on a particular aspect of their home country’s economy. If you intend to do this then please talk to me in advance, at either the December or January classes, to clarify what you intend to do and to provide me with a suitable title for your essay.]
Your assignment should address, but not necessarily be limited by, the following requirements:
Show your understanding of the concept of competitiveness.
Indicate how competitiveness is measured and assessed.
Review Ireland’s performance in terms of competitiveness.
Analyse the relationship between competitiveness and economic performance.
Identify strengths and weaknesses in Ireland’s competitive performance in absolute terms, i.e. relative to other countries, and relative to potential.
Identify opportunities to improve in general terms and in relation to specific sectors.
Outline ways in which improvements might be brought about, focussing on what the private sector and managers might achieve.
In identifying ways in which competitiveness might be improved, it is preferable if you can concentrate on specific ideas, even if these are not action points, rather than listing vague agenda for policymakers. Creativity is welcome, but it is fine if your recommendations are already familiar as long as the reasons why you are putting forward these ideas are clearly stated and persuasively argued.
Among the best known sources for information on competitiveness are the World Economic Forum (WEF) rankings and the World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) produced by IMD, a leading European business school. In Ireland, the National Competitiveness Council, a division within Forfás, also produces an Annual Competitiveness Report.
The IMD includes about 60 countries in its study. I have uploaded a number of extracts from their work for your information. Most years, they rank US in the first or second place with Singapore, Hong Kong and some Scandinavian countries usually also in the top 5. While there are identified data issues to be resolved, both China and India have been included in recent years and generally rank in the mid-20s to the mid-30s, but China Hong Kong gets much higher ranking. This is just a place to start, much more research is required.