Socioeconomic Infrastructure
NSF 95-309

Socioeconomic Infrastructure

This indicator assesses the underlying physical, financial, and human resources needed to support modern, technology-based economies. It was built from published data on percentages of population in secondary school and in higher education[29] and survey data evaluating the mobility of capital and the extent to which foreign businesses are encouraged to invest and/or do business in that country. The data show a fairly clear separation between the NIEs and EAEs. (See figure 19.) Singapore again leads the Asian NIEs: its score reflects high expert ratings for variables comparing mobility of capital and the encouragement of foreign investment. Singapore's small size and national plan for technology-based growth certainly contribute to its high scores. Hong Kong had the next highest overall score on this indicator and showed strength in these same two variables. Taiwan's and South Korea's overall indicator scores trailed those of Singapore and Hong Kong, especially in the two expert-derived variables. However, they posted strong scores in the single variable that compares track records for general and higher education.
Figure 19

Among the EAEs, Malaysia's socioeconomic infrastructure was rated highest. Malaysia's score was bolstered by a stronger showing in both published education data and the experts' opinions of the country's physical and financial resources. China had the lowest overall score; it was held back by lower ratings on the variables judging mobility of capital and encouragement of foreign-owned business and investment. In earlier surveys conducted during phases I and II of this research (see box), India's socioeconomic infrastructure rated slightly behind China's. India's new, higher scores probably reflect an improved operating environment for foreign business - the result of numerous reforms instituted by the Indian Government in 1992.

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29. The Harbison-Myers Skills Index (which measures the percentage of population attaining secondary and higher educations) was used for these assessments. (See The World Bank, World Development Report 1992, Oxford University Press, 1993.)
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