The Global Information Technology Report 2012

The latest report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and INSEAD, an international business school - The Global Information Technology Report - came out in April. The above report has been published since 2002.
A part of the Report is a calculation of the so-called Networked Readiness Index (NRI). In 2012, rated the 56th out of 142 countries, Russia has significantly improved its position in the past three years (in 2010-2011 it was rated the 77th out of 138 countries, while in 2009-2010, the 80th out of 133 countries), though comparison is not quite correct here as the methods of calculation of that index changed (the Impact subindex was added)1.

In 2012, the top place in the NRI index is assigned to Sweden (5.94 grades out of seven) which is followed by Singapore (5.86 grades) and Finland (5.81 grades). In 2012, Russia's neighbor - Kazakhstan - was rated the 55th, while Panama, the 57th.

Generally, the NRI index takes into account 53 indices, of which 31 indices are based on the data of surveys (that is, over 50%). Many researchers believe that utilization of such a large number of indices which are based on subjective evaluations result in distortion of outputs of calculation of such integral indices.
Generally, in calculation of the NRI index the data of surveys is used for evaluation of such spheres as:
  • Political environment and state regulation (the efficiency of legislative and judicial authorities, quality of laws in the sphere of information and communication technologies (ICT), protection of intellectual property, independence of the judicial system and other);
  • Conditions for doing business and making innovations (availability of advanced technologies, availability of venture capital, quality of education at schools of management, intensity of local competition, state procurement of advanced technologies and other);
  • Skills (the quality of the system of education in general as well as that in natural-scientific lines);
  • Utilization of ICT in business (the extent of perception of new technologies, companies' innovations potential, extent of utilization of the Internet in business and the level of training of personnel);
  • Utilization of ICT by state authorities (state priorities in ICT, importance of ICT to the state, public online services and other);
  • Social and economic effect from utilization of ICT.
Shown in Fig. 1. is the data on mean positions of different countries in accordance with indices calculated on the basis of the hard data (the axis of ordinates) and the data received on the basis of the outputs of surveys of respondents (axis of abscissas).

Source: The Global Information Technology Report 2012.
Fig. 1. Dependence of the position of the country on use of different hard data in the NRI-2012.

Taking into account the fact that the data of the surveys and other hard data is aimed in general at assessment of various aspects of performance of the sector of information and communication technologies, the following few conclusions can be drawn from Fig. 1.

First, the position of Russia in the rating is considerably underestimated on the basis of the data of surveys, which data is mainly aimed at assessment of institutional conditions that have an effect both on development and the extent of utilization of ICT in the country. As was stated above, they may include business conditions, political environment and the sphere of state regulation, the extent of utilization of ICT by the business and state authorities and other.
Secondly, deviation of positions received on the basis of different types of the data is one of the highest in this country, that is, a position received on the basis of the data of surveys is 47% lower than that received on the basis of the hard data.

Thirdly, the line of the general trend (shown in purple in the Figure) deviates to a great extent from the "theoretical" line which is drawn at an angle of 45°. It is to be noted that the deviation in question points to the fact that countries with higher values of ICT are assigned "better" positions on the basis of the data of surveys. In other words, more developed countries receive higher grades on the basis of the data of surveys, rather than on the basis of the hard data, and it is vice versa as regards countries with a lower level of development of the ICT sector.

It is to be noted that it is impossible to make any conclusions regarding the quality of the data of surveys on the basis of the information of that Index. Assessment of institutional conditions of performance of different spheres of the economy is carried out in preparation of various integral indices and in all such indices Russia is assigned a fairly low position in the total sample. It cannot be contested because in most cases -- no matter what nature of such a data may be -- it fairly identifies the main trends in that sphere.
In general, according to the Networked Readiness Index Russia is assigned the following high and low positions:

Source: The Global Information Technology Report 2012.

Programs on improvement of the investment climate, including reduction of the period of different approval procedures - that topic is largely discussed at the highest level (provided that such programs are fulfilled in full and with quality) - will help Russia secure higher ratings in most international indices which have become in the past decade a fairly popular instrument of evaluation of one or another sector of the economy.

V.А. Kotsyubinsky, Researcher of the Innovation Economy Department

1 In 2012, the total value of the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) is calculated as arithmetic average of the following four subindices: availability of conditions for development of information and communication technologies (ICT) (the Environment Subindex); the extent of readiness of people, business circles and state authorities to utilization of ICT (the Readiness Subindex); the extent of utilization of ICT in the social, commercial and public sectors (the Usage Subindex) and the impact of information technologies on the economy (the Impact Subindex).
2 The literacy level of the adult population, % is the share of the population in the age of 15 years old and over which is able to read and write a short and simple essay about its every-day life. In countries attributed to the High Income category, the value of that index is made equal to 99% in accordance with the approach adopted by the UN Development Program. Those countries were included in that group on the basis of calculation of the Human Development Index in 2009.