In 2016, the Reputation Institute ranked Sweden, Canada, and Switzerland as the most reputable countries in the world. The Institute's ranking is based on the collective opinions of 48,000 people surveyed throughout the G8* countries.
- According to the Reputation Institute, a country has a strong reputation if people perceive the country as having an advanced economy, appealing environment, and effective government or admire, trust, or feel esteem toward the country. These perceptions and feelings are based on people's direct experience, stereotypes, and the country's actions.
- Positive experience and stereotypes are the result of a country's performance across social, political, and economic spheres. Nine of the 10 most reputable countries are considered to be among the happiest nations in the world; eight of the 10 have the highest social progress and lowest corruption levels worldwide; and six of the 10 score highest on transparency in the media ratings.
- Top ranked Sweden has the highest ratings worldwide on press freedom, environmental performance, and gender equality. As for other top ranking countries, Canada is rated high in social progress, Switzerland in happiness, and Australia in peace.
Once achieved, intangible respect has quite a tangible economic effect for a country. Researchers from the Reputation Institute claim that the country's reputation affects positively its tourism, exports, foreign investment, and inflow of high-skilled workers.
- Ireland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands appear to be evidence of this relationship. Each is among the top 10 countries worldwide by value of exports and foreign direct investment per capita.
- New Zealand, Switzerland, and Norway are among the top ranked countries by employment of foreign-born populations with high educational attainment.
* The G8 countries are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.