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Doing Business Smart Lessons
Mexico: Creating competition to reform among states

Author: Mierta Capaul, Nadine S. Ghannam, Zenaida Hernandez
Publication: SmartLessons 2007

Overview

Global Doing Business indicators have become a useful tool to attract government attention to improving the business environment in many countries, but the Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS) project took it one step further, to the subnational level. Publishing comparative data on the ease of doing business across various states in Mexico inspired many local governments to introduce swift reforms. The Doing Business in Mexico study proved to governors and mayors that by adopting simple reforms and implementing them efficiently, they can improve competitiveness and create more jobs. Lessons learned from this project can provide useful guidance for designing similar programs in other countries.

The approach creates healthy competition among states and eliminates excuses for a difficult business environment, since the solution is next door. Lessons learned from this project focus on engaging and empowering local stakeholders and can provide useful guidance for designing similar programs in other countries.

Main Findings

  • Bringing benchmarks to the local level empowers reformers because it eliminates excuses for a difficult business environment, since the solution is next door.
  • Due to the similarity in regulations across the country, it is especially important to make the surveys easily understandable for local correspondents.
  • The challenge now is to make subnational benchmarking sustainable in Mexico. Ideally, World Bank Group involvement should decrease over time.