Since 2000, the Economist Intelligence Unit has assessed the world's largest economies on their ability to absorb information and communications technology (ICT) and use it for economic and social benefit. Previously titled the "e-readiness rankings", in 2010 the study is being renamed as the "digital economy rankings", to reflect the increasing influence of ICT in economic (and social) progress. Seventy countries are covered in this annual benchmarking exercise.
The digital economy rankings assess the quality of a country's ICT infrastructure and the ability of its consumers, businesses and governments to use ICT to their benefit. When a country uses ICT to conduct more of its activities, the economy can become more transparent and efficient. Our ranking allows governments to gauge the success of their technology initiatives against those of other countries. It also provides companies that wish to invest or trade internationally with an overview of the world's most promising business locations from an ICT perspective.
Over 100 separate criteria, both qualitative and quantitative, are evaluated for each country by the Economist Intelligence Unit's team of analysts. These criteria are scored on their relative presence in a country's economic, political or social landscape. The categories, and the individual criteria within them, are weighted according to our assumptions of their relative importance in fostering a country's information economy. Details on the methodology can be found in the appendix. (We are grateful to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs for their permission to incorporate in our model the "e-participation" scores for 68 countries from the UN e-government survey.)
In this and previous rankings, the Economist Intelligence Unit has worked in co-operation with the IBM Institute for Business Value and its Global Centre for Economic Development. IBM provided feedback on the building and refinement of the rankings model and on the written analysis in the report. "Countries are now challenged to effectively stimulate the use of technology by the vast majority of their citizens, businesses and governments in order to remain competitive," says Peter Korsten, global leader of the IBM Institute for Business Value.