Content - Switzerland judged most de facto globalized country

  • February 23, 2018

Switzerland judged most de facto globalized country

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – According to the renowned KOF Globalization Index of the Swiss Economic Institute (KOF) of the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland is the most globalized country when looking at de facto globalization. Japan was ranked at #44 in this measurement. Switzerland is the global number 2 after the Netherlands and before Sweden, when de jure and de facto globalization are considered together. Japan is ranked at #36. While the de facto globalization covers the actual cross-border flows and activities, de jure globalization includes activities and policies that favor these flows and activities in principle. Another finding of the KOF is that globalization has started to decrease for the first time since 1975.

City of Zurich

Interdependence with neighbors

In the overall ranking, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden were followed by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Finland and Norway. The first non-European countries were United Arab States (11th), Canada (15th) and the United States (23rd). The world's third-largest economy, Japan, followed at 36th. Eritrea, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, the Comoros and Sudan were at the bottom of the table.  

Due to their greater interdependence, for example with neighboring countries, small countries tend to be more prominent in the KOF ranking than large countries. Thus, the world's largest economies are more likely to be found in the middle part of the ranking.  

The U.S. ranks 63rd in economic globalization, 29th in social and 10th in political globalization. The People's Republic of China ranks 88th, but is among the top 15 in political globalization, while its degree of economic and social globalization is significantly lower.

Ranking of KOF Globalization Index 2018 (based on data © KOF)

Ranking of KOF Globalization Index 2018 (based on data © KOF)

Advantage for European Union

The major economies of the European Union, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Spain, are much more globalized due to their high economic, social and political integration within the European Union as a whole.  

In the overall ranking, France and Germany ranked 7th and 8th, Spain 12th and the United Kingdom 17th. While the United Kingdom achieved high levels of social globalization in particular, Germany, France and Spain achieved high levels of political globalization.  

First slight globalization decrease

The global degree of globalization increased rapidly from 1990 to 2007 and continued to increase slightly from 2010 to 2014. According to KOF, this trend was reversed in 2015. Economic globalization was responsible for this decline, while social globalization stagnated and political globalization increased somewhat. "I'm a little skeptical about the progress of globalization," says KOF Director Jan-Egbert Sturm.  

The KOF Globalization Index reflects the economic, social and political globalization through 2015. For the years 2016 and 2017, there are not enough data yet. But KOF Director Sturm assumes that globalization has probably flattened further.  

The decrease is driven in particular by the political developments in various Western countries. “Even though economic globalization may have progressed further due to the global economic recovery, the isolationist policies of the USA and the United Kingdom in particular have led to a stronger isolationist policy," assesses Sturm.  

About the methodology

The KOF Globalization Index measures the economic, social and political dimension of globalization. It serves to monitor changes in the degree of globalization of countries over a long period of time. The current KOF Globalization Index is available for 185 countries from 1970 to 2015.  

The index distinguishes between de facto and de jure globalization in the overall index, as well as in the economic, social and political components. The sub-area of economic globalization contains on the one hand trade flows and on the other hand financial flows. De facto trade is determined on the basis of trade in goods and services. De jure trade includes customs duties, taxes and trade restrictions.    


Text: SCCIJ with German material of KOF; Graph: SCCIJ based on KOF data; Photo: Zurich (flickr/Andreas Hunziker CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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