France is struggling with high unemployment and a stagnant economy, but that has not kept its capital from being classed among the wealthiest and most powerful cities in the world.
The study from a group of American academics and researchers titled “Size is not the answer: The Changing face of the global city,” which first appeared on Forbes.com, gives the top slots to London and New York.
Their vibrant economies, diverse populations, transport connections, large amount of direct foreign investment and the high concentration of global business headquarters make those two cities centres of global influence.
Paris had many of the same features, but with some caveats, wrote one of the study authors Joel Kotkin in a post on Forbes.com.
“Paris may rank third in our survey, but it is way below New York and London by virtually every critical measure, and the city’s future is not promising given that France, and much of the EU, are mired in relative economic stagnation,” Kotkin wrote.
"Paris’s high ranking is partly the product of the city’s utter domination of the still sizable French economy and the concentration of virtually all the country’s leading companies there.”
However, no other European capitals made it into the top 10 Paris’s closest competitors on the continent, according to the study’s authors, were Zurich, Switzerland and Frankfurt, Germany, which landed at 13th and 14th respectively.
Interestingly, size is not not what makes a city influential, according to the study’s authors. They argue the notion that size makes for power is an outdated notion.
London and New York both have 8.4 million residents, while the greater Paris region has some 11.9 million inhabitants (2.3 million people within Paris). Yet a city like Beijing, which came eighth on the study, is home to nearly 20 million people.
"Today size is not so important: Of the world’s 10 most populous cities, only Tokyo, New York and Beijing are in the top 10 of our ranking of the world’s most important cities. Instead, what matters today is influence," Kotkin wrote.
Earlier this year the head of the Greater Paris Investment Agency Chiara Corazza said there was "cry of alarm" in Paris, because the city was losing its competitiveness to foreign cities.
In an interview with The Local however Chiara said that most foreign investors who come to Paris will find they can still make money.
“When investors come here, they discover there is a market here to do business. You just have to tell them to look at the results of investors who have come here in the last 10 years and they will see that most of them have increased turnover by 20 percent.
“When they come to Paris they find the skills and good infrastructure and the telecommunications,” she says. “Energy is less expensive here. They find professional workers who are reliable. They find an efficient state and an efficient administration and they find a good balance between the quality of life and work.”