Research - 19.05.2021 - 00:00 

Elite Quality Index 2021: Switzerland ranked #2

International political economy ranking from the University of St.Gallen provides insight on national elite systems, and their expected value creation in a post-COVID world.
Source: HSG Newsroom

19 May 2021. The Elite Quality Index 2021 (EQx2021) measures the way in which elites globally contribute to the development of society. It specifically looks at the economic and political power of elites and evaluates how elites enable or impede economic and political growth. The means in which elites create or extract value can help determine the business opportunity, growth and development of a nation.

The Elite Quality Index

EQx2021 specifically examens 151 countries (expanded from 32 in the initial EQx2020 report) and has broadened the data range, looking 107 component indicators (up from 72). The research by Tomas Casas, Research Institute for International Management (FIM-HSG), and Guido Cozzi, Institute for Economics (FGN-HSG), at the University of St.Gallen along with academic and strategic partners from around the globe and the St.Gallen-based Foundation for Value Creation, provide unique insights into the transformational leadership of elite business models, long-term economic growth, and social resilience.

Switzerland is ranked 2nd in the EQx Global Ranking

Switzerland is ranked 2nd in the EQx Global Ranking, just behind Singapore, on account of its strong international orientation. However, the country’s health system has been challenged by COVID and while its well-designed economic support packages including part-time work and social insurance schemes, have kept the economic damage at bay it has also become clear that direct democracy with its ability to delivery great Political Value (1st rank in this EQx Index area) comes at the cost of speed and agility. Overall, the index shows that Swiss elites have built inclusive and value creation business models and done so in a competitive environment ripe with creative destruction: these will be the basis for a strong and quick recovery. 

EQx2021 has ranked Singapore as #1 overall. The city state’s business elites are by far the highest value creators on the planet. Rounding out the top three are Switzerland (2nd) and the United Kingdom (3rd). The U.S. defends its rank (5th) and shockingly Germany falls from 3rd place in 2020 to 15th in 2021. Israel made the largest gains in the EQx2021 moving up a global rank to 7th.

Resource for business and political leaders

The EQx has examined 151 countries across four conceptual areas to determine the quality of the elites in any given country. These are: Economic Power, Economic Value, Political Power and Political Value. Elites are categorized as very high quality elite (rank 1 to 10), high quality elites (rank 11 to 25), quality elites (rank 26 to 75), middle quality elites (rank 76 to 124) and lagging elites (rank over 125). Comparative country scores and global ranks provide insight into the future of societies. The EQx is designed to be a resource for business and political leaders to understand how their actions affect society at large.

In their work, management scholars have sought to understand sustainable business models. Economists build simulations to help policymakers develop inclusive policies for long-term economic growth and human development. The EQx is at the intersection of management, economics and political science, a multidisciplinary effort to trace and predict inclusive value creation in societies. Casas and Cozzi argue that assessing the business models of a country’s elites in terms of value creation as opposed to value extraction from society at large is essential general to sustainable prosperity and institutional development.

The Elite Quality Index (EQx2021) can be found here and at, and you can follow it on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Image: Adobe Stock / Tryfonov