The Doing Business 2020 study shows that developing economies are catching up with developed economies in ease of doing business.
Still, the gap remains wide. An entrepreneur in a low-income economy typically spends around 50 percent of the country's per-capita income to launch a company, compared with just 4.2 percent for an entrepreneur in a high-income economy. It takes nearly six times as long on average to start a business in the economies ranked in the bottom 50 as in the top 20.
There's ample room for developing economies to catch up with developed countries on most of the Doing Business indicators. Performance in the area of legal rights, for example, remains weakest among low- and middle-income economies.
Doing Business recognizes the important work countries have done to improve their regulatory environments. Among the 10 economies that advanced the most, efforts were focused on the areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and trading across borders. In general, economies that score the highest share several features, including the widespread use of electronic systems and online platforms to comply with regulatory requirements.
At the same time, the least reformed area was resolving insolvency. Putting in place reorganization procedures reduces the failure rates of small and medium-size enterprises and prevents the liquidation of insolvent but viable businesses.
Doing Business is a valuable tool that governments can use to design sound regulatory policies. By giving policymakers a way to benchmark progress, it stimulates policy debate, both by exposing potential challenges and by identifying good practices and lessons learned.
It's important to note that Doing Business isn't meant to be an investment guide, but rather a measurement of ease of doing business. Potential investors consider many other factors, such as the overall quality of an economy's business environment and its national competitiveness, macroeconomic stability, development of the financial system, market size, rule of law, and the quality of the labor force.
Ease of doing business is an important springboard to structural reforms that encourage broad-based growth. The World Bank Group stands ready to help countries move forward.
This open book is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY). You can download Doing Business 2020 ebook for free in PDF format (2.7 MB).
Table of Contents
About Doing Business
The effects of business regulation
Removing obstacles to entrepreneurship
Contracting with the government
Ease of doing business score and ease of doing business ranking
Summaries of Doing Business reforms in 2018/19