The Power of Access, Landmark Study by SRI | SRI International

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Access is Critical to Global Economic Growth and Improved Human Welfare, Says Landmark Study by SRI International




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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- May 23, 2006 -- Access -- the means of interaction and exchange among people, businesses and nations -- is critical to economic growth and to improving human welfare around the world, according to a report released today by SRI International’s Center for Science, Technology and Economic Development.

The study, The Power of Access, was commissioned by FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and is the first comprehensive effort in defining, measuring and analyzing access as a driving force of change and progress.

The groundbreaking study was unveiled at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. by Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corp. Joining Smith in discussing the report were: The Honorable James R. Sasser, former U.S. Senator from Tennessee and former Ambassador to The People’s Republic of China; Daniel H. Yergin, Ph.D, energy and economic researcher who won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, and most recently, Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy; and C. Fred Bergsten, Ph.D, director of the Institute for International Economics.

The power of Access lies in the opportunities it creates for individuals, business, and nations to participate, make choices, and improve their prospects. "Three variables define access:  time, space and information," said Smith. "For the first time in history we have a low-cost, standardized information exchange available to anyone with a computer, regardless of time or space."

SRI established the analytical framework for defining the drivers and benefits of access, and for quantifying access and measuring its impacts.  SRI created the Access Index (TM) and provided a numerical ranking of 75 countries based on their "openness" -- the access of a country, its business, and its citizens to physical items and information from the rest of the world. 

The countries with the highest levels of Access are listed in the accompanying table. These rankings suggest that access is particularly important for countries that have small internal markets, limited domestic resources, and/or rely heavily on international trade. For example, the United States and Japan -- with large internal markets and resources -- rank 12th and 19th respectively on the Access Index.

SRI found that higher levels of access enable higher economic growth, strongly relate to higher levels of personal income (as depicted in the following chart), and are critical for economic survival and growth.


To measure the opportunities created by access, SRI also created a separate Access Opportunities Index (TM) for each of the beneficiary groups -- People, Business, and Nations-- and provided numerical rankings of countries based on their scores in each separate index.  By comparing country scores and rankings across the Access Index and the Access Opportunities Index, SRI derived the following key findings:


  • Access can be an important means for countries to improve their citizens’ welfare.
  • Positive outcomes for business are strongly correlated with Access; businesses harness Access to serve different business goals.
  • The potential climate and policies of national governments have a major impact on how much their nations benefit from access.


"Access is a catalytic process that enables interactions, contacts, and exchanges among people, businesses, and nations," said John A. Mathieson, Director of SRI's Center for Science, Technology, and Economic Development. "Access indicates opportunity -- the opportunity to accomplish a broad range of actions, from attaining physical presence to communicating, and from acquiring to using. The power of Access lies in the opportunities it creates for individuals, businesses, and nations to participate, make choices, and improve their future prospects."

"For the first time in history, all nations, including underdeveloped regions, have the prospect of being able to engage in global commerce," Smith said. "Access is changing what’s possible."

The Power of Access report consists of four components: "Access Launch Report", "Opportunities for People", "Opportunities for Business", and "Opportunities for Nations". In a companion study, Powering Global Access, SRI examines the role and impact of FedEx in creating and expanding Access. Copies of these reports are available online at

About FedEx

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $32 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brands. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 260,000 employees and contractors to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International ( is one of the world’s leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for 60 years. The nonprofit research institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, and private foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships, and creates spin-off companies.

About SRI's Center for Science, Technology and Economic Development

Based in Washington D.C., the Center for Science, Technology and Economic Development assists private- and public-sector clients in finding solutions to an array of economic issues, ranging from building stronger economic foundations to introducing high-technology industries, promoting innovation, and improving competitiveness. The Center's economists specialize in industry cluster development, benchmarking, "measuring the immeasurable," and economic assessments and strategies.