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- GDP (PPP):
- $472.8 billion
- 2.0% growth
- 2.0% 5-year compound annual growth
- $58,087 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
The Swiss economy benefits from high levels of flexibility and institutional strengths that include strong protection of property rights and minimum tolerance for corruption. An independent and corruption-free judiciary enforces contracts effectively. Openness to global trade and investment has enabled Switzerland to become one the world’s most competitive and innovative economies.
Economic Freedom Snapshot
- 2016 Economic Freedom Score: 81.0 (up 0.5 point)
- Economic Freedom Status: Free
- Global Ranking: 4th
- Regional Ranking: 1st in Europe
- Notable Successes: Rule of Law, Open Markets, and Regulatory Efficiency
- Concerns: Control of Government Spending
- Overall Score Change Since 2012: –0.1
Switzerland’s federal system of government disperses power widely, and executive authority is exercised by the seven-member Federal Council. Switzerland has a long tradition of openness to the world but jealously guards its independence and neutrality. It did not join the United Nations until 2002, and two referenda on membership in the European Union have failed by wide margins. Membership in the European Economic Area was rejected by referendum in 1992. One of the world’s richest and most investment-friendly countries, Switzerland has a well-developed financial services industry. After years of criticism by the EU and the U.S., Switzerland now publishes a list of foreign account holders. This has changed its reputation for banking secrecy, dating back to the 1930s. In addition to banking, the economy relies heavily on precision manufacturing, metals, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and electronics.
The government is considered virtually free from corruption, and Switzerland was ranked fifth out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. Protection of property rights is strongly enforced, and an independent and fair judicial system is institutionalized throughout the economy. Commercial and bankruptcy laws are applied consistently and efficiently. Intellectual property rights are respected and enforced.
Taxation is more burdensome at the cantonal levels than at the federal level. The top federal income tax rate is 11.5 percent, and the combined tax rate is as high as 40 percent. The federal corporate tax rate is 8.5 percent, but the joint rate can be as high as 24 percent. The overall tax burden equals 27.1 percent of GDP. Government spending amounts to 33.5 percent of GDP.
The competitive regulatory framework strongly supports commercial activity, allowing efficient and dynamic business formation and operation. Labor regulations are relatively flexible, and provisions concerning work hours have been eased. The central bank’s surprise January 2015 decision to discontinue its exchange-rate ceiling with the euro sent shock waves through global currency markets and prompted a rapid appreciation of the Swiss franc.
Switzerland has a 0 percent average tariff rate and is a member of the European Free Trade Association. Many agricultural imports are subject to non-tariff barriers. Domestic and foreign investors are generally treated equally under the law. The modern and highly developed financial sector provides a wide range of financing instruments. Despite the challenging external environment, banks remain well capitalized and sound.