"Empirical research is needed to establish the optimal level of business regulationвЂ”for example, what the duration of court procedures should be and what the optimal degree of social protection is. The indicators compiled in the Doing Business project allow such research to take place. Since the start of the project in November 2001, more than 800 academic papers have used one or more indicators constructed in Doing Business and the related background papers by its authors."
The index is based on the study of laws and regulations, with the input and verification by more than 9, 600 government officials, lawyers, business consultants, accountants and other professionals in 185 economies who routinely advise on or administer legal and regulatory requirements.
The ease of doing business index is meant to measure regulations directly affecting businesses and does not directly measure more general conditions such as a nation's proximity to large markets, quality of infrastructure, inflation, or crime. A nation's ranking on the index is based on the average of 10 subindices:
The Doing Business project also offers information on following datasets:
- Distance to frontier - Shows the distance of each economy to the вЂњfrontier, вЂќ which represents the highest performance observed on each of the indicators across all economies included in Doing Business since each indicator was included in Doing Business
- Entrepreneurship - Measures entrepreneurial activity. The data is collected directly from 130 company registrars on the number of newly registered firms over the past seven years
- Transparency in business regulation - Data on the accessibility of regulatory information measures how easy it is to access fee schedules for 4 regulatory processes in the largest business city of an economy
For example, according to the Doing Business (DB) 2013 report, Canada ranked third on the first subindex "Starting a business" behind only New Zealand and Australia. In Canada there is 1 procedure required to start a business which takes on average 5 days to complete. The official cost is 0.4% of the gross national income per capita. There is no minimum capital requirement. By contrast, in Chad which ranked among the worst (181st out of 185) on this same subindex, there are 9 procedures required to start a business taking 62 days to complete. The official cost is 202% of the gross national income per capita. A minimum capital investment of 289.4% of the gross national income per capita is required.
While fewer and simpler regulations often imply higher rankings, this is not always the case. Protecting the rights of creditors and investors, as well as establishing or upgrading property and credit registries, may mean that more regulation is needed.
Research and influence
More than 800 academic papers have used data from the index. The effect of improving regulations on economic growth is claimed to be very strong. Moving from the worst one-fourth of nations to the best one-fourth implies a 2.3 percentage point increase in annual growth.