The world’s 19 most open, stable, and efficient economies

Author

Will Martin

December 7, 2016

Traders react in the Euro Dollar pit at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to an announcement by the United States Federal Reserve on interest rates January 28, 2004. The U.S. Federal Reserve opted on Wednesday to hold interest rates at 1958 lows to keep the economic recovery rolling but changed its wording on the future of rates slightly to say it can 'be patient' before lifting borrowing costs.

MRKET REUTERS/John Gress JG/JDP

The Legatum Institute, a London based research institute released its 10th annual global Prosperity Index in November, a huge survey that ranks the most prosperous countries in the world.

The organisation compares 104 variables to come up with its list, splitting those variables into nine subindexes. One of the big components of the ranking is the strength of a country’s economy.

Economies are not ranked solely by their size and strength, with the Legatum Institute taking factors like openness, financial sector efficiency, and the economic opportunities afforded to people in the country into account.

The index looked at the 149 countries in the world that have the most available data. We have pulled in the 19 nations that scored highest in the Prosperity Index’s economic sub-section.

Check them out below:

19. Japan — Japan may be the world’s third largest economy in pure GDP terms, but it has faced many years of stagnant growth and inflation, helping to keep it relatively low on the Legatum Institute’s list.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

18. Iceland — Iceland’s economy is one of the best in the world, according to the Legatum Institute. It has had its problems, however. During the financial crisis, the country’s banking system came close to collapse, causing a major depression for around three years between 2008 and 2010.

REUTERS/Stigtryggur Johannsson

17. France — The eurozone’s second largest economy has suffered from sclerotic growth since the debt crisis began in 2009. Its problems are made worse by a hugely inefficient labour market that is highly resistant to reform. Despite this, France still remains one of the world’s economic powerhouses.

pisaphotography / Shutterstock

16. Belgium — The home of the European Union also has a high economic sub-index score from the Legatum Institute. The country hit headlines after the small region of Wallonia threatened to derail CETA — a major bilateral trade deal between the EU and Canada.

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

15. Australia — Australia’s economy, one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, is hugely reliant on commodities for its successes. Iron ore is a particularly important resource for the nation. Australia has gone more than 25 years without a recession, even managing to avoid the worst of the financial crisis.

BI Australia/Atlas Iron

14. United States — The world’s biggest, most powerful economy is not its best, according to the Legatum Institute. Globally it ranks highly, but huge income inequality remains a massive issue in the land of the free.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

13. Canada — America’s neighbour to the north relies heavily on oil for its success, and saw GDP growth stutter after major wildfires stopped oil production in the province of Alberta. It remains an attractive place for business however, and after the election of Donald Trump, many US citizens are reportedly considering moving to the country.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

12. Finland — One of Finland’s biggest sources of GDP is the paper industry, owing to the country’s enormous number of trees. The country is known for its sometimes off-the-wall economic policies, and has instituted a major basic income experiment in recent years.

REUTERS/Bob Strong

11. Austria — Another European nation to feature in the Legatum Institute’s top economies, Austria has the world’s 29th largest economy, despite having a population of less than nine million.

Heinz-Peter Badar/Reuters

10. United Kingdom — Brexit may be expected to hit the British economy hard, but Britain largely remains an economic success story, and is expected to grow at the fastest rate of any major global economy in 2016.

Getty

9. Luxembourg — Famed as a home for bankers and people looking to pay as little tax as possible, Luxembourg punches well above its weight globally. The nation of fewer than 600,000 people has one of the three highest GDP per capita rates of anywhere on earth.

Daniel Biskup

8. Singapore — The Asian city state is not only a major financial centre, but also one of the world’s two busiest ports. More than 32 million containers of cargo are processed by the Port of Singapore every year.

Suhaimi Abdullah / Getty Images

7. Norway — Norway’s economy is hugely reliant on the North Sea oil industry, meaning that since oil prices started to tank in 2014, the country has faced difficulties. It still remains strong however, and the Norwegian government’s enormous sovereign wealth fund is the envy of the world.

Reuters/Norsk Telegrambyra

6. Denmark — With a nominal GDP of just over $300 billion, Denmark is one of the world’s 40 largest economies. It has the world’s lowest level of income inequality, according to the World Bank’s Gini co-efficient.

REUTERS/Henning Bagger/Scanpix/Files

5. Germany — The powerhouse behind much of Europe’s limited success in recent years, Germany is behind only the USA, China, and Japan in nominal terms. It is also the world’s third biggest exporter sending more than $1 trillion worth of goods overseas every year.

ChinaFotoPress/Getty

4. Switzerland — People living in Switzerland are by far the wealthiest of those in any major economy around the world. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on its famously high-powered financial services industry.

http://www.jamesedition.com/extraordinaire/swiss-bank-safe-with-money-729198

3. Sweden — In line with its Scandinavian neighbours, Sweden has a generous universal welfare state. That means income taxes are pretty high across the country. Sweden was one of the first nations to experiment with negative interest rates, aimed at boosting stagnant inflation in the country.

REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

2. Netherlands — With a nominal GDP of more than $750 billion in 2015, despite having just 17 million citizens, the Netherlands punches above its weight globally. The concept of a stock market, as we would recognise it now, was first created in the Netherlands during the early 17th century.

REUTERS/Michael Kooren

1. New Zealand — The world’s top economy, according to the Legatum Institute, bizarrely is heavily reliant on the success of its milk industry, and particularly Fonterra, the company responsible for approximately 30% of the world’s dairy exports. When Fonterra succeeds, so too does New Zealand.

Eloy Alonso/Reuters

This article was written by Will Martin from Business Insider and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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