How does OCEA incorporate competitiveness analysis
into its program of work?
Competitiveness means different things to different people. To
an economist, it may mean how well a country is performing compared
to other economies, as embodied in the standard of living and
changes in national productivity. To a policy maker, it may mean
how a new regulation changes the ability of affected businesses
to compete. To a business owner, it may mean changes in profitability
as reflected in market share for its goods and services in a low-cost
market place. There is no clear-cut definition of competitiveness
that is acceptable to all. Thus, it is necessary to interpret
competitiveness as best suits one's needs and mission.
OCEA's mission is to provide critical economic and policy analysis
and information to promote U.S. business competitiveness, and
to evaluate industry perspectives for domestic policy development,
assessment, and implementation. With these twin considerations
as guidelines, OCEA's program of work on business competitiveness
is founded upon economic and policy analysis that is meaningful
at the individual business (firm or company) level.
OCEA's competitiveness analysis consists of three principal elements:
- Understanding the micro-economic foundations of competitiveness
and prosperity. OCEA and MAS analysts pay close attention to the business environment
facing U.S. companies and their ability to deliver goods and
services in a global market.
- Monitoring economic metrics that reflect the ability of individual
firms and industry to compete in the market place. OCEA, in
collaboration with other offices within MAS, tracks
and assesses information that is important to a company's balance
sheet as well as industry-wide aggregate measures such as business
profitability, market share, and employment.
- Assessing the impacts of policies and regulations on measures
of business competitiveness and injecting the information into
interagency policy deliberations. OCEA's scope of analysis includes
comprehensive assessment of up-stream and down stream economic
activities, with special emphasis on implications on international
trade, as well as drill-down analysis at the company level.