The World Economic Forum has released their annual ranking of worldwide competitive conditions. Finland, the US and Sweden lead the way, with five Nordic countries placing in the top 10. The WEF praised the solid public institutions and macro economic management of the Scandinavians:
[The results challenge] the conventional wisdom that high taxes and large safety nets undermine competitiveness, suggesting that what is important is how well government revenues are spent, rather than the overall tax burden per se.
Of course, Doing Business would agree,
Just 8 percent of economic activity in Nordic countries occurs in unregistered (informal sector) businesses. The reason is that regulations are simple to comply with and businesses receive excellent public services for what they pay in taxes. For example, Denmark has the world’s best infrastructure... In the Nordic countries, as well as the other top 30, reformers do not have to choose between making it easy to do business and providing social protection. They can do both.