How tiny countries top social and economic league tables (and win at football, too)

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović

Ms Kolinda GRABAR-KITAROVIC, President of Croatia. Shoot location: Bruxelles – BELGIUM Shoot date: 13/06/2018 Copyright: European Union

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Rosamond Hutt, Formative Content

Sporting history is full of stories of underdogs who defy the odds to triumph over bigger teams. Leicester City’s fairytale rise from the bottom of the United Kingdom’s Premier League in 2015 to the top in 2016 is one memorable example, while both Denmark and Greece have triumphed at the UEFA European Championships.

Now Croatia, a nation with a population of just 4.2 million, has secured a place in the World Cup finals for the first time.

And they’re not the only tiny country to do well in the tournament. Uruguay – population, 3.4 million – made it to this year’s quarter-finals slaying mighty Brazil with a population of 207 million.

Of course, being a large nation is certainly not an essential ingredient for success in football. If that were the case, China, India and the United States would have at least qualified for the World Cup group stages.

Competitiveness off the pitch

But what about success off the pitch? Small countries often appear at the top of rankings for wealth (Qatar), innovativeness (South Korea and Sweden), happiness (Finland) and gender parity (Iceland).

And when it comes to competitiveness, they’re also demonstrating that they can punch well above their weight and leave larger economies by the wayside.

Switzerland, with 8.5 million people, is in pole position on the World Economic Forum’s 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Index, while Singapore, a city-state with a population similar to Minnesota’s at 5.5 million, is third after the US.

Image: World Economic Forum

In the case of Switzerland, which tops the overall ranking for the sixth year in a row and scores well on nearly every pillar of competitiveness, it’s down to a resilient economy, strong labour markets and innovative and sophisticated businesses.

Image: World Economic Forum

Singapore, which slipped one place this year to third, mainly on account of rising government debt, put in a strong performance across the board, according to the report. Its transport infrastructure, product and labour markets, and financial sector are all highly efficient.

If population size doesn’t seem to be a key factor – on or off the pitch – then what is it exactly that makes a small country competitive at the global level?

Agility, speed and the ability to change direction quickly are often thought to be key factors when thinking about the merits of smaller countries, organizations and even players.

But how bigger countries can replicate the success of smaller ones is a question that will continue to trouble both economists and football fans for some time to come.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Road use charges: reforms aim to improve fairness and environmental protection

David Attenborough’s worried about this ocean threat – and it’s not plastic

Deadly swine fever threatens Asia, UN agriculture agency warns, urging regional collaboration

A free press is ‘cornerstone’ for accountability and ‘speaking truth to power’: Guterres

EU deal on electricity market rules to benefit both consumers and environment

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

Security Council imposes arms embargo on South Sudan

The Future of Balkans: Embracing Education

Eurozone in trouble after Nicosia’s ‘no’

A Valentine’s Special: heart has nothing to do with it, it’s all Brain

Are we at risk of a financial crisis? Our new report takes a look

The digital skills gap is widening fast. Here’s how to bridge it

How India is solving its cooling challenge

‘Dangerous nationalism’ seriously threatens efforts to tackle statelessness: UNHCR chief

State aid: Commission finds Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Engie; has to recover around €120 million

The sustainable fashion revolution is well underway. These 5 trends prove it

Iraq: Security Council told ‘despair’ has ‘given way to hope’ but road to stability ‘long and far from easy’

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

Boosting adult learning essential to help people adapt to future of work

More accessible products and services for disabled and elderly people

Why the answer to a more sustainable future could lie within the platform economy

MEPs vote for upgrade to rail passenger rights

eGovernmnet for more efficiency, equality and democracy

Solutions for cultural understanding: medical students’ perspective

LGBTQI+ and medicine

These 4 scenarios show how we might be working in the future

JADE Testimonial #3: Sebastian @ Fundraising

Ensure that widows are ‘not left out or left behind’, UN chief urges on International Day

The influence of the multilateral agreement on migrant health

Our tourism system is broken – time to customize

Indonesia has a plan to deal with its plastic waste problem

‘Crimes against humanity,’ ‘war crimes’ and risk of new ethnic violence in DR Congo, warn UN experts

Vaccines: from miracle to possible danger

Turkey presents a new strategy for EU accession but foreign policy could be the lucky card

Humane leadership must be the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s real innovation

Is the European Banking Union an impossible task?

UN Security Council ‘utterly failed’ Syrian detainees; a victim voices her plea to ‘end impunity and stop this horror’

European Young Innovators Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: Europe for StartUps, vision 2020

Technology can help solve the climate crisis – but it will need our help

EU continues targeting on Chinese steel imports instead of the revival of its own economy

Cyprus tragedy reveals Eurozone’s arbitrary functioning

Countries must invest at least 1% more of GDP on primary healthcare to eliminate glaring coverage gaps

UNICEF delivers medical supplies to Gaza in wake of deadly protests

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

UN atomic watchdog chief updates governing body on key North Korean reactor

Prevent future crises and empower youth – now!

Energy Union: EU invests a further €800 million in priority energy infrastructure

UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

EU announces record €550 million contribution to save 16 million lives from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Could robot leaders do better than our current politicians?

The European Sting @ Mobile World Congress 2014, Creating What’s Next for the World. Can EU Policy follow?

UN chief welcomes possibility of resumed talks between US and North Korea

Corruption In The Balkans Is Impeding EU Membership

EU-India summit: Will the EU manage to sign a free trade agreement with India before Britain?

Banking Union: Non-performing loans in the EU continue to decline

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

Greece begins a new chapter following the conclusion of its stability support programme

Across the world, women outlive men. This is why

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s