The US has regained its status as the world's most competitive economy thanks to strong innovation and excellent universities, according to a survey released yesterday by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The US rebounded from sixth place last year to knock Switzerland from the top spot in the "global competitiveness index." The Swiss were second this year, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Finland.
The study said the US was boosted by its close cooperation between universities and business on research and development, high intellectual property protection, as well as efficient use of employees and investment.
But increasing public indebtedness in the US threatens to hamper the country's growth, it said.
"This danger has most recently been demonstrated by the fallout and contagion caused by the country's subprime mortgage crisis and the ensuing global credit crunch," said Xavier Sala-i-Martin, a professor of economics at Columbia University and one of the authors of the survey.
He said the weaknesses "present a risk to the country's overall competitiveness potential and to the global economy as a whole."
Switzerland was credited with an excellent capacity for innova-tion, a sophisticated business culture, outstanding scientific research institutions and strong intellectual property protection.
Denmark and Sweden were ranked third and fourth, followed by Germany and Finland. The Nordic countries were praised for their budget surpluses and very low levels of public indebtedness.
More than 11,000 business leaders in 131 countries took part in the survey which ranked Singapore seventh, followed by Japan, Britain and the Netherlands.
China and India were in the middle of the 131-nation list.