These are the most frequently asked questions (click to see the answers):
These are the most frequently asked questions (click to see the answers):
Economies are ranked on their ease of doing business, from 1 to 190. A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm. The ranking of economies is determined by sorting the aggregate ease of doing business scores. The aggregate ease of doing business score for each economy is the simple average of their scores on each of the 10 topics included in the ranking: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. All topics are weighted equally.
|Starting a Business||Protecting Minority Investors|
|Procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital to start a limited liability company||Minority shareholders’ rights in related-party transactions and in corporate governance|
|Dealing with Construction Permits||Paying Taxes|
|Procedures, time and cost to complete all formalities to build a warehouse and the quality control and safety mechanisms in the construction permitting system||Payments, time and total tax rate for a firm to comply with all tax regulations as well as postfiling processes|
|Getting Electricity||Trading Across Borders|
|Procedures, time and cost to get connected to the electrical grid, the reliability of the electricity supply and the transparency of tariffs||Time and cost to export the product of comparative advantage and import auto parts|
|Registering Property||Enforcing Contracts|
|Procedures, time and cost to transfer a property and the quality of the land administration system||Time and cost to resolve a commercial dispute and the quality of judicial processes|
|Getting Credit||Resolving Insolvency|
|Movable collateral laws and credit information systems||Time, cost, outcome and recovery rate for a commercial insolvency and the strength of the legal framework for insolvency|
First, together with academic advisers, the Doing Business team designs a questionnaire. The questionnaire uses a simple standardized business case to ensure comparability across economies and over time—with assumptions about the legal form of the business, its size, its location and the nature of its operations.
Questionnaires are administered to more than 13,000 local experts, including lawyers, business consultants, accountants, freight forwarders, government officials and other professionals routinely administering or advising on legal and regulatory requirements.
The Doing Business team has several rounds of interaction with many experts, involving conference calls, written correspondence and country visits by the team. For Doing Business 2019, team members visited 26 economies to verify data and recruit respondents.
The data from questionnaires are subjected to numerous rounds of verification, leading to revisions or expansions of the information collected. The data for all sets of indicators in Doing Business 2019 are as of May 1, 2018 (except for the paying taxes indicators, for which the data refer to calendar year 2017).
The Doing Business project captures several important dimensions of the business regulatory environment as they apply to domestic firms. It provides quantitative analyses of regulations for the 11 areas captured by the report.
The project uses two types of data. The first type of data serves as input into indicators on the complexity and cost of regulatory processes. The second type of data comes from reading laws and regulations in each economy. In order to collect accurate data, the Doing Business team conducts several rounds of interactions with expert respondents. The objective of Doing Business is to measure the simplicity, efficiency and accessibility of the regulatory environment.
While the employing workers indicators are not included in the calculation of the ease of doing business ranking, the indicators have not been excluded from the Doing Business 2019 report. Currently, the Employing Workers raw data are presented in the Doing Business website and are not factored into the ease of doing business ranking.
The Doing Business methodology has the following limitations that should be understood when using the data.
First, the collected data refer to businesses in the economy’s largest business city and may not be representative of regulation in other parts of the economy (except for the 11 economies for which data are also gathered for the second largest business city). To address this limitation, Subnational Doing Business The subnational studies point to significant differences in the speed of reform and the ease of doing business across cities in the same economy.
Second, the data often focus on a specific business form—a limited liability company (or its legal equivalent) of a specified size—and may not be representative of the regulation on other businesses, for example, sole proprietorships.
Third, transactions described in a standardized case scenario refer to a specific set of issues and may not represent the full set of issues a business encounters.
Fourth, the measures of time involve an element of judgment by the expert respondents. When sources indicate different estimates, the time indicators reported in Doing Business represent the median values of several responses given under the assumptions of the standardized case.
Fifth, the methodology assumes that a business has full information on what is required and does not waste time when completing procedures. In practice, completing a procedure may take longer if the business lacks information or is unable to follow up promptly. Alternatively, the business may choose to disregard some burdensome procedures. For both of these reasons, the time delays reported in Doing Business 2019 would differ from the experiences of entrepreneurs as reported in the World Bank Enterprise Surveys or other perception surveys.
Lastly, the ease of doing business ranking is limited in scope. It does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms or investors—or all factors that affect competitiveness. It does not, for example, measure an economy’s proximity to large markets, quality of infrastructure services (other than services related to trading across borders), security of property, transparency of government procurement, macroeconomic stability, the labor skills or the underlying strength of institutions. Nor does it focus on regulations specific to foreign investment. Doing Business does not assess the strength of the financial system or market regulations. It does not cover all regulations, or all regulatory goals, in an economy. For example, the indicators on starting a business or protecting minority investors do not cover all aspects of commercial legislation.
The Doing Business research is conducted in cooperation with leading academic scholars. Each of the indicators underlying Doing Business is based on an academic paper, and all these papers have been or are in the process of being published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Doing Business has also compiled a list of research papers on topics covered by Doing Business.
Each topic covered by Doing Business relates to a different aspect of the business regulatory environment. The scores and rankings of each economy can vary considerably across topics, indicating that a strong performance by an economy in one area of regulation can coexist with a weak performance in another.One way to assess the variability of an economy’s regulatory performance is to look at its scores across topics. Qatar, for example, has an overall ease of doing business score of 65.89, meaning that it is about two-thirds of the way from the worst to the best performance. It scores highly at 99.44 on paying taxes, 87.67 on starting a business and 83.27 on registering property. At the same time, it has a score of 28.33 for protecting minority investors, 38.12 for resolving insolvency and 40 for getting credit.
Variation in performance across the indicator sets is not at all unusual. It reflects differences in the degree of priority that government authorities give to particular areas of business regulation reform and in the ability of different government agencies to deliver tangible results in their area of responsibility.
A high ranking on the aggregate ease of doing business means that the government has created a regulatory environment conducive to operating a business, as measured by the Doing Business indicators. Improvements in the Doing Business indicators are often a proxy for broader reforms to laws and institutions—whose effects go beyond the administrative procedures and the time and cost to comply with business regulations.
On average, high rankings in the Doing Business indicators are associated with better economic and social outcomes, but this association need not be linear. For example, expedient court procedures to resolve commercial disputes are welcomed by businesses. But to ensure a fair process, some procedural requirements are necessary, and these may cause delays.
There remains a large unfinished agenda for research into what regulation constitutes binding constraints, what package of reforms is most effective, and how this is shaped by country context. Empirical research is also needed to establish the optimal level of business regulation—for example, what the optimal duration of court procedures is and what the optimal degree of social protection is. The Doing Business indicators provide an empirical data set that may improve understanding of these issues.
Questions on the methodology and challenges to data may be submitted to Doing Business via email.
Doing Business continually strengthens its indicators. Doing Business 2004 presented indicators in five topics: starting a business, labor market regulation, enforcing contracts, getting credit and resolving insolvency. Doing Business 2005 added another two indicator sets: registering property and protecting minority investors. Doing Business 2006 added three more topics: dealing with construction permits, paying taxes and trading across borders. Getting electricity was added in Doing Business 2012, for a total of 11 areas.
Doing Business also continues including more economies in the sample. Doing Business 2006 included 155 economies and Doing Business 2007 added 20 economies. Doing Business 2008 again added three economies: Brunei Darussalam, Liberia and Luxembourg. Doing Business 2009 added three more economies: The Bahamas, Bahrain and Qatar. Doing Business 2010 added an additional two economies: Cyprus and Kosovo. Doing Business 2013 again added two new economies: Barbados and Malta. In 2014, Doing Business added four new economies: Libya, Myanmar, San Marino and South Sudan, to include 189 economies in the sample. In Doing Business 2015, the second largest business city was added for the 11 economies with a population of more than 100 million. These are: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Russian Federation and the United States. Finally, in Doing Business 2018, Somalia was added to the sample. In its 16 years of publication, Doing Business has published more than 100,000 data points each year on this website.
Data time series for each indicator and economy are available on the website, beginning with the first year the indicator or economy was included in the report. To provide a comparable time series for research, the data set is back-calculated to adjust for changes in methodology and any revisions in data due to corrections. The website also makes available all original data sets used for background papers. The correction rate between Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2019 is 5.6% (this correction rate reflects changes that exceed 5% up or down). It is hard to compare this with other international data sets because they do not publish corrections rates. In this respect Doing Business is the most transparent data set of its kind.
In previous years, Doing Business recalculated the published rankings, because the indicator sets underwent important methodology expansions. For example, in Doing Business 2015, resolving insolvency introduced new measures of quality and two topics—getting credit and protecting minority investors) broadened the existing measures. Moreover, Doing Business expanded the sample of cities in 11 large economies. In Doing Business 2016, four topics (dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property and enforcing contracts) also introduced new measures of quality. Moreover, trading across borders overhauled its methodology to increase the relevance of indicators. In Doing Business 2017, paying taxes introduced new measures including postfiling processes and three topics—starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts—added gender components. In contrast, the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2019 editions of the report introduced no major methodology expansions. As such, the previous year’s rankings are not recalculated.
More importantly, economies should assess their progress with the historical performance by using the ease of doing business score instead of the ranking. With the ease of doing business score, it is possible to see both how close an economy is to the best regulatory performance at any point in time, and how much progress it has made in improving its regulatory environment over time.
Doing Business measures flexibility in the regulation of employment, specifically as it relates to the hiring and redundancy of workers and the rigidity of working hours. Several areas of employment regulation are measured by the labor market regulation indicators: hiring, working hours, redundancy rules and redundancy costs.
The indicators measuring flexibility in labor market regulations focus on those affecting the food retail industry, using a standardized case study of a cashier in a supermarket.
According to the case study assumptions, the company operates a supermarket or grocery store, in the economy’s largest business city. It has 60 employees and is subject to collective bargaining agreements in economies where such agreements cover more than 50% of the food retail sector and apply even to firms that are not party to them. The company abides by every law and regulation but does not grant workers more benefits than those mandated by law, regulation or (if applicable) collective bargaining agreements.
According to the case study assumptions, the worker is a cashier in a supermarket or grocery store. The worker is a full-time employee with one year of work experience. The worker is not a member of a labor union, unless membership is mandatory.
In Doing Business 2019, the employing workers indicators record the minimum wage applicable to the worker described in the case study assumptions, a cashier, age 19 with one year of work experience.
Doing Business 2019 does not present rankings of economies for the employing workers indicators or include the topic in the aggregate ease of doing business ranking. The data on the employing workers indicators is provided in the Doing Business website.
In recent years, the team has been working with a consultative group—comprising labor lawyers, employer and employee representatives and experts from International Labor Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, civil society and the private sector—to review the employing workers indicator set’s methodology and explore future areas of research. The consultative group completed its work in 2011, and its guidance has provided the basis for several changes in methodology. The main findings and recommendations can found in the Doing Business Employing Workers Consultative Group report.
The Doing Business project is grateful for the generous contribution of more than 13,000 lawyers, accountants, freight forwarders, architects and public officials who serve as contributors in 190 economies. Learn more.
The analysis in Doing Business has direct relevance for policy reform. It reveals the relationship between business regulation indicators and economic and social outcomes, allowing policy makers to see how particular laws and regulations are associated with poverty, corruption, employment, access to credit, the size of the informal economy and the entry of new firms. The analysis also provides guidance on reform design and implementation. The data offer a wealth of detail on the specific regulations and institutions that enhance or hinder business activity, the most significant bottlenecks causing bureaucratic delay and the cost of complying with regulations. After reviewing their economy’s performance on the Doing Business indicators, governments can identify where they lag behind and what to reform.
What works in developed economies often also works well in developing economies, defying the often-used claim that "one size does not fit all." But reform options are not always the same across high-income, upper-middle-income, lower-middle-income and low-income economies. In such instances, developing economies could simplify the models used in developed economies to make them workable with less capacity and fewer resources. Moreover, the good practice examples presented in the Doing Business report are not limited to high-income economies or economies where comprehensive regulatory reform has taken place. The report provides many examples of successful reforms in developing economies in various areas of business regulation.
Policymakers, the aid community, investors and researchers use Doing Business data and analysis to compare economies on their regulatory environment for business, assess the impact of laws and regulations on business activity, make informed decisions regarding policy reform and private investment, identify good practices in regulatory reform and support research on institutions and regulation.
Due to the high volume of queries we receive, we can only address questions directly related to the Doing Business report and online database. Please email your questions to Doing Business. Please include the name of your organization and the country you where reside.
If you have a question that is not specific to the Doing Business project, please see: