WASHINGTON, February 11, 2010 - Sweden has nabbed the top spot from the United States on a global scorecard that measures nations’ digital connectivity and how it contributes to economic growth.
The study (pdf), funded in part by Nokia Siemens Networks and headed by economics professor Leonard Waverman, found that although the United States and Sweden were fierce competitors, “it appears that Sweden’s greater consistency” gave it the edge. For example, Sweden achieved good scores for consumer infrastructure, while the United States lagged behind in that category.
Authors of the Connectivity Scorecard 2010 say it’s important to note that in the areas where the United States lags Sweden, it hasn’t really closed the gap. Additionally, they say that the U.S. lead in Internet usage and in areas such as Internet banking and electronic business and commerce has “eroded somewhat.”
“In many cases, while the U.S. remains a substantially strong performer, it is now one of many rather than a clear leader,” according to the research project.
In the 2009 scorecard, the United States received an overall score of 7.71 while Sweden came in second with 7.47. In 2010, Sweden took the lead with 7.95 and the United States scored 7.77.
The researchers define “connectivity” in a broader way than just infrastructure and hardware. They say the notion of connectivity should be expanded to include complementary assets like software along with skills, which are embodied in people, governments and businesses, that determine how productively the hardware and infrastructure are used.