The Republic has been ranked 8th out of 22 Asian economies on a new Creative Productivity Index developed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The index, launched on Friday (Sep 12), measures the innovative and creative capacity of economies by relating creative input to output. The index included a total of 24 economies, with the United States and Finland included for comparative purposes, according to the ADB.
Japan was rated as most effective at turning creative input into output, followed by Finland and South Korea. Laos is 7th, ahead of Singapore, which is 8th. Pakistan and Cambodia were ranked as the least efficient innovators at 23rd and 24th, respectively.
The index uses 36 input indicators to measure the capacity and incentives for innovation. These include the number of global top 500 universities an economy has, the rate of urbanisation, R&D spending, protection of intellectual property rights, and corruption and bureaucracy.
Meanwhile, the eight output indicators include the number of patents filed, export sophistication, value added to agriculture and the number of books and films produced.
According to the report, Singapore topped the rankings on innovation input alone. However, it was ranked sixth in the level of creative output.
ADB and EIU said in the report that given its level of creative input, Singapore could be achieving more creative output. For instance, Japan, Hong Kong, China and New Zealand all have a lower level of creative input than Singapore, yet garnering a higher level of creative output.
The report found that Singapore scored highly in the area of creative input on its strong political institution, intellectual property protections, investment protection and contract enforcement.
Corruption is also rare in the city state, and Singapore has a very flexible labour market, it said. But it fared relatively poorly in terms of mean years of schooling and enrolment of students in technical and vocational programmes.
On measures of output, Singapore produced fewer patents than Japan, Taipei, China and South Korea, and lagged behind other economies when it came to production of books and movies.
The EIU said: "The reasons behind Singapore's lagging score on outputs are complex, but the EIU believes that democracy and free debate are critical for innovation and in the 2013 edition of our democracy index, we ranked Singapore lower than Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taipei, China, Korea, Australia and New Zealand on this measure."
The ADB and EIU add that the index aims to give policymakers a unique tool to measure progress in fostering creativity and innovation.