As rankings go, it may not have the popular appeal of Mr. Blackwell's annual Worst-Dressed List. But business leaders and policymakers pay plenty of attention to the World Competitiveness Yearbook issued every May by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), a business school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Derived from a battery of data, the competitiveness ranking is a global scorecard for how well nations are preparing themselves for the challenges of the 21st century economy.

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The study?the most comprehensive of its kind?examines 323 criteria, ranging from gross domestic product growth and trade levels to mobile-phone rates and higher education. Roughly two-thirds of the inputs are quantitative, gathered from sources such as the U.N. and the World Bank. The balance are qualitative responses to an annual survey conducted by IMD that examines topics such as business attitudes, regulation, and the environment.

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There's also an interactive table