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Y&R's BAV Consulting, U.S. News and the Wharton School Unveil Second Annual Best Countries Rankings

BAV joined US News and Wharton in debuting the second annual Best Countries rankings. Using our quantitative database to measure nations as brands, the study asked over 21,000 decision makers, influencers and citizens to rank their perceptions of 80 countries across 75 dimensions ranging from being economically influential to socially responsible to fashionable.

The findings show that the world is at a crossroads in 2017, with several key shifts from the inaugural rankings, which debuted at the World Economic Forum at Davos last year. Most notably we saw:

U.S. lost respect as a global leader. Its ranking declined three positions to #7 this year, losing global esteem on measures from tolerance to safety to political and economic stability. Nearly 75% of our respondents said they lost respect for U.S. leadership after the 2016 election. On the other hand, the UK held steady at #3, despite the volatility of the post-Brexit climate.

Stability is the ‘new cool.’ Amidst the chaos and uncertainty we see in the world today, nations that promote safety and tolerance were highly ranked. Switzerland debuted on the list in the #1 spot, while Nordic countries which claimed 4 of the top 15 positions. Germany, last year's #1 best overall country, slipped to #4 this year after being rocked by a range of events – from growing public anxiety over an influx of refugees to a string of deadly terror attacks.

ROI in Rio? Contrary to other countries that have seen reputational boosts after hosting the Olympics, Brazil dropped 8 spots to #28 in this year’s rankings after hosting the Summer 2016 Games. Most notably, its open for business ranking dropped 26 spots to #63 and quality of life ranking dropped 15 spots to #59, receiving extremely low scores for public health after reports of the country’s water quality reached the global stage. Its economic stability was also called into question as federal bailout funds used to get the country through the Games is drying up.

For more insights and findings, check out the full rankings on the Best Countries portal. You can also find coverage of the study in publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

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