Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 13th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 189 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.
Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: 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. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.
Data in Doing Business 2016 are current as of June 1, 2015. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why. This year’s Doing Business report continues a two-year process of introducing improvements in 8 of 10 Doing Business indicator sets—to complement the emphasis on the efficiency of regulation with a greater focus on its quality.
Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency finds that entrepreneurs in 122 economies saw improvements in their local regulatory framework last year. Between June 2014 and June 2015, the report, which measures 189 economies worldwide, documented 231 business reforms. Among reforms to reduce the complexity and cost of regulatory processes, those in the area of starting a business were the most common in 2014/15, as in the previous year. The next most common were reforms in the areas of paying taxes, getting electricity and registering property.
Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Cyprus, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Senegal and Benin are among the economies that improved the most in 2014/2015 in areas tracked by Doing Business. Together, these 10 top improvers implemented 39 regulatory reforms making it easier to do business.
Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounted for about 30% of the regulatory reforms making it easier to do business in 2014/15, followed closely by Europe and Central Asia. Members of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa were particularly active: 14 of the 17 economies implemented business regulation reforms in the past year—29 in total. Twenty-four of these reforms reduced the complexity and cost of regulatory processes, while the other five strengthened legal institutions.
This year’s report adds indicators of quality to four indicator sets: registering property, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity and enforcing contracts. In addition, the trading across borders indicators have been revised to increase their relevance. The underlying case study now focuses on the top export product for each economy, on a very common manufactured product (auto parts) as its import product and on its largest trading partner for the export and import products.
Seven case studies featured in the report: Five focus on legal and regulatory features covered by new or expanded indicators being introduced this year—in the areas of dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, trading across borders and enforcing contracts. The other two analyze other areas of interest in the historical data set.