The strength of globalisation

Austrian ranks fourth when it comes to ­globalisation. Only the Netherlands, Ireland, and Belgium are more globalised than Austria. © Pixabay

Austria ranks fourth in the latest Globalisation Index of ETH Zurich’s Institute for Business Cycle Research (KOF) and is therefore one of the world’s most globalised countries.

The Netherlands tops the ranking, closely followed by Ireland and Belgium. Therefore the first four ranks remain unchanged to the prior survey year. According to ETH, these four countries are so close together that the differences are hardly perceptible. Switzerland moved up two ranks to fifth position - one rank above Singapore, which moved down one rank. This index measures the strength of international trade, investment, and income streams in relation to gross domestic product as well as the impact of restrictions on trade and capital movements. The “social dimension” category comprises economic and cultural exchange in its broadest sense. It incorporates international communication including the Internet, TV, and newspapers but also the cultural proximity to the global mainstream based on the number of McDonald’s and Ikea stores or the export and import of books in relation to the GDP. Tourist flows and the number of foreign residents are also included. Social globalisation increased a little stronger in 2013 than in the years before. Austria, Singapore, and Switzerland are the top three in this category.
When it comes to political integration Austria ranks fourth. This is a remarkable position, considering the country’s size, because it signals a certain political significance, as the foreign trade expert at the Institute for Business Cycle Research (KOF) Florian Hälig points out. It is measured by categories like the number of foreign embassies in a country, the number of international organisations of which the respective country is a member, the number of UN peacekeeping missions the country took part in, and the number of bilateral and multilateral agreements concluded since 1945. Italy tops this list, followed by France and Belgium.

The economic dimension
Small, open economies top the ranking when it comes to the economic dimension of globalisation. Singapore stands out in particular in this regard, followed by small EU states like Luxembourg, Ireland, Malta, and Belgium. Austria only ranks 16th in this dimension, moving down to positions from last year’s ranking. Compared to other countries in the EU and euro zone, Austria is only in 13th and 9th place, respectively.

The social dimension
When it comes to the social dimension, Austria ranks 4th, followed by Belgium and Switzerland. Cyprus, Ireland, and Singapore lead the field in this dimension.
Germany ranks 15th in regards to social globalisation. China is only at the 90th position in this ranking.

The political dimension
This is yet another dimension where Austria scored a top position, namely 5th place, following Italy, France, Belgium, and Spain. This position can be explained by Austria’s strong commitment to the United Nations, diplomatic efforts and prioritisation as well as the fact that one of the UN’s headquarters is based in Vienna.

From the perspective of the WKO staff department for economic policy
All in all, Austria’s 4th position in the overall ranking is an encouraging result. As a small and open economy, Austria is a clear winner of globalisation – on an economic, social, and political level. However, Austria followed the (predominantly European) trend and had to accept minor losses in the economic dimension. Nevertheless, foreign trade and investments remain immensely important for small economies like Austria. They both create and ensure jobs and therefore contribute to the country’s strength as a business location. Therefore the further strengthening of exports as well as the motivation and support of exporting companies are to be welcomed. The framework conditions for the social and political dimensions of globalisation are very encouraging, and they are perfectly positioned and incorporated into everyday life to ensure that Austria emerges as a clear winner of globalisation. (BO)

Globalisation comprises worldwide interdependencies on many levels (e.g. economy, politics, culture, communication, etc.) and its various participants (states and institutions as well as societies and individuals). Main drivers of globalisation can be divided into three areas or dimensions, which the Globalisation Index takes into account to calculate its country ranking:
The economic dimension includes, among other things, steps to liberalise global trade and investment flows. The index measures trade volumes and foreign direct investments as well as protectionist tendencies, such as customs tariffs or restrictions on capital movements.
The social dimension takes several aspects into account, such as communication flows (via Internet, phone, newspapers), the relevance of tourism in the economy, as well as the share of residents born abroad.
The political dimension ultimately illustrates the political collaboration and legal communication - between countries and on an international level. It is measured by the number of embassies abroad, memberships in international organisations, the number of concluded international agreements and participations in existing UN missions.