Thorsten Beck, 29 September 2021

The World Bank permanently suspended its Doing Business project earlier this month. This column argues that the suspension puts an end to a very useful data-collection exercise that went astray by focusing on rankings and political publicity. Beyond specific conflicts of interest within the World Bank, the demise of Doing Business reaffirms Goodhart’s Law that when an index becomes a policy target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Jamal Ibrahim Haidar, Takeo Hoshi, 21 October 2015

The Abe administration has outlined a desire for Japan to rank among the top three OECD countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking. This column uses the Doing Business ranking itself to identify potential reforms the country could pursue to improve its position. Several politically viable, non-judicial reforms could quickly and easily move Japan up in the ranking. The approach highlights how the Doing Business rankings can be used to inform policy reform discussions.

Thorsten Beck, 06 June 2013

The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ data collection project is under threat from large nations who score poorly, especially China. This column argues that although there are problems with country rankings, the underlying data is very valuable for empirical researchers. The Doing Business project should continue quantifying different dimensions of the business environment, but reduce its focus on country rankings.

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