The U.S., China and India may take turns leading the global economy this century, according to an analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The CEBR forecast suggests China could potentially take the top spot as the world's largest economy by gross domestic product as early as 2037. The forecast also sees potentially strong growth in other countries such as India.

"The ranking of which is the largest economy in the world — that doesn't take into account things like living standards. On that measure, China is absolutely nowhere near catching up with the U.S.," said Nina Skero, chief executive of the CEBR.

Economists believe that a large and fast-growing GDP can signal a nation's military power, economic influence and international significance.

"It would be naive to say it doesn't matter," said Mariana Mazzucato, a professor of economics at the University College London. "But unless we solve the biggest problems of our time around health, climate, digital and also AI with a global lens, then we're not going to be better off."

Around the world, policymakers are spending large sums of public funds to prepare for social and environmental challenges that may be ahead.

"I don't want to contain China. I just want to make sure that we have a relationship with China that's on the up and up," said President Joe Biden at a September 2023 press conference.

Leaders from India and China have strengthened their diplomatic ties with the U.S. in 2023. President Xi Jinping of China in particular sought to repair relations with Washington after a tumultuous start to the decade.

Business confidence in China is weakening, prompting the government to continue increasing its stimulus spending. China was previously expected to overtake the U.S. economy by 2028, according to the CEBR.

"The main issue facing China today is that the population, the private sector, the investors don't have long-term confidence about the Chinese economy," said Yasheng Huang, professor of global economics and management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Population growth has stalled in China and in the U.S. in the 21st century, but India in particular may benefit from a so-called "demographic dividend" where the working-age population is growing in a well-capitalized business environment.

"The demographics [in India] are still very youthful compared to other large Asian economies such as Japan, South Korea or China," said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence. "That gives India the potential to be growing at quite a rapid pace," he told CNBC in an interview.

Watch the video above to learn more about the race to be the world's largest economy.