The Global Attractiveness Index is a platform to measure country attractiveness and to discuss the factors and strategies that most affect it. The GAI Index compares 144 economies globally which represent 92% of the world population and 97% of Gross Domestic Product in four macro-areas of attractiveness (Openness, Innovation, Endowment and Efficiency) and two cornerstones of competitiveness (Dynamism and Efficiency). The Index undergoes an independent statistical audit by the European Commission Joint Research Center.

Global Attractiveness Index

The Global Attractiveness Index research project was launched in 2016 to make available to Italian and international decision-makers an innovative country index that can offer a representative profile of the attractiveness and competitive sustainability of countries and, as a result, provide dependable information to aid in making system-wide choices about growth and optimization of the pro-business environment.

The GAI measures the attractiveness of a country using a range of primarily quantitative indicators that represent the various aspects of a country’s attractiveness, dynamism and sustainability. Specifically, the GAI analyzes attractiveness from a dual perspective:

  • internal—the ability to retain resources already present in the area;
  • external—the ability to attract new resources from the outside.

In creating the GAI Index, the hypothetical point-of-view adopted was that of a subject—investor, business, talent, etc.—which, in looking for the best conditions to make a localization choice, asks three main questions: What is the current situation in the country? What changes are currently underway internally and what are the dynamics of the situation? What is the level of sustainability of the current situation over the short/medium-term?

From this standpoint, the Index is comprised of three rankings:

1.a Positioning Index (PI) that provides a detailed picture of the attractiveness of each country. It is expressed by a score (base=100) and provides the country’s relative positioning in a global ranking. The PI provides a current picture of the attractiveness of a country and is comprised of four macro-areas:

  • Openness—the ability of a country to promote the circulation of economic, human and business resources both internally and externally;
  • Innovation—the totality of a country’s ecosystem (research network, public institutions, businesses, financial system) to promote and develop scientific and technological progress in terms of advancing research, applications and market spin-offs for the general public and businesses;
  • Efficiency—the ability of organizational and function-related structures of a country to guarantee proper functioning (and quality) of capital markets, the job market, services and government;
  • Endowment—the totality of a country’s assets that are not easily replicable and, therefore, represent a competitive advantage for it with its competitors.

2.a Dynamism Index (DI) that describes the medium-term growth and reduction trends in country attractiveness;

3.a Sustainability Index (SI) that provides quantitative information about the sustainability of the ranking of a given country. The Sustainability Index is supported by two very distinct macro-areas whose purpose is to incorporate the concept of sustainability as fully as possible:

  • Resilience: an attribute designed to portray the ability of a country to positively adapt to change. A resilient area is able to react and absorb shocks and/or periods of crisis or uncertainty by adjusting positively to change and adapting its structures and governmental, social and economic models. High-resilience is, therefore, a positive attribute of the country and economic system being analyzed;
  • Vulnerability: an attribute designed to portray a country’s exposure to negative impacts deriving from harmful situations and events (both internal and external). These negative elements are connected to its intrinsic economic, social and organizational characteristics and are seen within the context of the Index as a negative attribute of the country involved.

This structure is capable of providing a complete profile of the conditions of a country and its economic system according to three specific aspects:

  • Static (current situation);
  • Dynamic (short/medium-term trend);
  • Prospective (potential future evolution).

A distinctive feature of the Global Attractiveness Index is that it reconstructs its series from past data to reflect in each year’s report the updates issued by the leading international statistical bodies from which the data bases are derived. In fact, for correct comparison of the Index over time, the time series on which the indicator is built must be technically comparable and gathered using the same criteria. In some cases, the same piece of data obtained years later may be subject to re-evaluation, both because of changes in the methodology of data collection, as well as differences between an initial estimated value and the final value. For this reason, as it does every year, The European House – Ambrosetti reconstructed the database of the Global Attractiveness Index for the last six years (2013-2019) by drawing on the most up-to-date sources. Following this, the Global Attractiveness Index was recalculated on the past six years, based on the most recent data released.

Back-calculation of the Index is an important methodological approach of the Global Attractiveness Index that, on the one hand, makes it possible to take account of the changes connected with updating the time series and, on the other, guarantees the comparison over time of the KPIs and the Positioning Index (PI) for each country, providing a more representative and transparent picture of the progress made by the various economies over time.


For the European Union (EU) a tendency towards a decrease in attractiveness can be seen (in the last five years, the rankings of 75% of European countries have decreased or remained stable, and in the last ten years, the European percentage of Foreign Direct Investment out of total global investment has decreased from 43.7% to 30.7%). In the GAI 2020, once again Italy shows itself to have an economy with good attractiveness, ranked 18th out of the 144 countries surveyed.


Conceptual Map

Presentation by Prof. Enrico Giovannini (italian version)

Press Release 

JRC Statistical Audit of the
2020 Global Attractiveness Index

The Index also undergoes an independent audit carried out by the Centre on Composite Indicators and Scoreboards of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

The Scientific Committee of the Global Attractiveness Index project is comprised of:

  • FERRUCCIO DE BORTOLI (Columnist, Corriere della Sera)
  • LORENZO BINI SMAGHI (Economist; former Member of the Executive Committee, European Central Bank)
  • ROBERTO MONDUCCI (former Director of the Department of Statistics, ISTAT)
  • ENRICO GIOVANNINI (Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility) – until February 2021


As part of the collaboration between The European House – Ambrosetti and Radio Activa, the DATASCAPES program has been created as part of its web radio programming.

The first four episodes will center on issues involving the Global Attractiveness Index.

The title of the first episode (to be aired Thursday, May 14th at 9 am and re-broadcast on Friday, May 15th at 4 pm) is: “Vulnerability and Resilience: what is the situation in Italy and what are the weak points the COVID-19 emergency has brought to light? The uniquely-Italian dilemma between ‘investing in the future’ and ‘debt for the future’”.
The subsequent episode will examine the GAI macro-area of Innovation.


Read the article about Global Attractiveness Index

Liquidity: not investing costs 30%, but six families out of ten are wary. 
L'Economia del Corriere della Sera - July 27, 2020 
G. Petrucciani
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