Exploring the relative importance of sustainable competitiveness pillars

Abroon Qazi, M.K.S. Al-Mhdawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the acknowledged significance of pillars such as economic sustainability, intellectual capital, resource efficiency, natural capital, social capital, and governance in contributing to a nation’s long-term economic and social prosperity forms the basis of this research, our primary aim is to undertake a more nuanced exploration. Instead of reiterating their broad contributions, we seek to investigate the specific and individual roles of these pillars and the intricate interdependencies among them. To accomplish this, a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) model was developed using a dataset by SolAbility covering sustainable competitiveness scores for 180 countries, which demonstrated a predictive accuracy of 88.9%. Sensitivity analysis uncovered the critical role played by ‘governance’, ‘social capital’, ‘economic sustainability’, and ‘intellectual capital’ in influencing overall sustainable competitiveness. Notably, ‘governance’ and ‘intellectual capital’ were found to have a far-reaching impact on multiple competitiveness pillars within the BBN model. Highly competitive countries consistently demonstrated strong performance in the ‘governance’, ‘social capital’, and ‘economic sustainability’ pillars, whereas low competitiveness was associated with a deficiency in ‘intellectual capital’. Notably, ‘governance’, ‘social capital’, ‘intellectual capital’, and ‘economic sustainability’ emerged as the most informative factors concerning the sustainable competitiveness variable. ‘Natural capital’ and ‘resource intensity’ were relatively less critical factors. This is the first study to quantify the relative significance of individual sustainable competitiveness pillars within a probabilistic network model, thus providing valuable insights for policymakers regarding resource allocation. Researchers can also leverage these findings to delve deeper into the importance of sub-pillars associated with the critical pillars identified in this research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number140986
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2024


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