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|The Intelligence Capital Index (ICI) has been created to measure which nations are most likely to foster the "big ideas" of tomorrow. In that sense, the ICI can be thought of as a ranking of the world's smartest countries - with a twist.
In comparison to alternative measures of human capital and talent, the ICI has several distinguishing features:
1. It considers education outcomes both in terms of quantity and quality, while emphasizing quality.
2. It measures cognitive skills at different stages of the human life cycle, again with an emphasis on top (elite) performance.
3. It includes migration as an important external channel for countries to acquire and develop human capital.
The top-10 "smartest" countries are:
1. United States
2. United Kingdom
The US comes out on top. Indeed, it is the only country that gets an overall A+ on the ICI. Its dominant position is a result of its exceptional performance in terms of quality of education (at the elite level). It is home to a majority of the world's leading institutions of higher learning and has earned an outsized number of Nobel prizes and Fields medals.
In second place, the United Kingdom performs extremely well for both the quality of education and elite cognitive skills. With a score nearly identical to that of UK, Germany places third, with strong showings for quality of education. It also ranks well for creativity and openness to foreign talent.
Australia places fourth owing to its top scores for elite cognitive skills and openness to immigration. Ranking fifth, Singapore is also well known for its high scores on standardized tests (eg., PISA) and its ability to attract top foreign talent. Its performance is outstanding given that some ICI indicators (eg., the number of top 500 universities) explicitly favor big countries (as large countries are better able to create clusters of excellence).
Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Finland and Denmark round out the top-10 smartest countries, with typically high scores on the aspects of creativity and attractiveness for immigrants.