The question about the international economic competitiveness of nations has received a lot of attention in recent years, not only in academic literature. In times of economic globalization, open economies are concerned about a possible loss of international competitiveness.302 Furthermore, international organizations and fora like the WTO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UNCTAD, and the World Economic Forum are interested in the international competitiveness of nations and their industries and financial markets, too.303 They try to assess national economies in order to prevent fundamental problems for the growth and stability of world economy, to support the integration of developing countries into global trade and to forecast future developments on global markets. This multitude of publications about the international competitiveness of nations contrasts with the uncertainty about its exact meaning and the lack of its theoretical foundation, so that the aim to strengthen a nation’s international competitiveness could be misused as a justification for diverse political and legislative aims and projects. Despite these theoretical and practical problems, the concept of international competitiveness shall be taken as a theoretical basis of this investigation. Therefore, in order to be able to analyze the role of national competition policy for the international competitiveness of nations in Chap. 4, it is necessary to get clear about the concept of international competitiveness.


Exchange Rate Foreign Direct Investment National Welfare Comparative Advantage Real Exchange Rate 
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© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2008

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