Author: Tina Aridas, Valentina Pasquali
Project Coordinator: Denise Bedell

The ease with which companies can start and run their businesses correlates with countries’ regulations and protection of property rights, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2013 report. In 2013 like in 2012, Singapore ranks first for the ease of doing business (the seventh consecutive year it does so) and New Zealand tops the chart for starting a business. Many sub-Saharan African countries and Venezuela are at the bottom of the ranking.

Data is from the World Bank's Doing Business 2013 report, published October 23 2012, on figures from June 2011 through May 2012.

Ease of Doing Business Around the World, 2013

Green - Rank: 1 - 30
Light green - Rank: 31 -70
Yellow - Rank: 71 - 100
Light Orange - Rank: 101 - 130
Dark orange - Rank: 131 - 150
Red - Rank : 151 - 185

Ease of Starting a Business Around the World, 2013

Green - Rank: 1 - 30
Light green - Rank: 31 -70
Yellow - Rank: 71 - 100
Light Orange - Rank: 101 - 130
Dark orange - Rank: 131 - 150
Red - Rank : 151 - 185

The 2013 Doing Business Report found that “Worldwide, 108 economies implemented 201 regulatory reforms in 2011/12.” 44% of these 201 reforms focused on three areas, specifically making it easier to start a new business, increasing the efficiency of tax administration and facilitating trade across international borders.

Singapore and New Zealand continue to lead the rankings for the Ease of Doing Business and for Starting a Business respectively. The 2013 edition did not see major changes relative to the previous year’s. Georgia was a new entry in the top ten, climbing seven positions from the 2012 ranking. Armenia and Greece had the best year-on-year performances, jumping respectively 23 and 22 positions in the Ease of Doing Business list. Grenada suffered the worst drop (-27.)

Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises
Watch co-author Augusto Lopez-Claros discuss the 2013 Doing Business report

The concept behind the World Bank’s Doing Business Report is that daily economic activity of countries is shaped by the laws, regulations and institutional arrangements put in place by governments and institutions. Therefore, the goal of this initiative is to examine these factors, starting with the number of bureaucratic and legal steps required to start a business or to register and transfer commercial property. The Report then delves into how long it takes and how much it costs to comply with regulations, for example time and money needed to enforce contracts, file for bankruptcy or trade across borders. Thirdly, the Doing Business’ indicators measure levels of legal protections for investors and property. The World Bank also analyses corporate tax rates. Finally, Doing Business evaluates the ease of closing a business and the quality of employment regulation (although this last chapter is no longer included in the larger report but rather is treated separately.)

The Doing Business 2013 report, published in October 2012 (the tenth in a series of annual reports), ranks a record 185 countries on 11 indicators (using data up to date as of May 2012). The indicators are:

• Starting a business (procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital to open a new business)
• Employing workers (rigidity of employment index, redundancy costs)
• Enforcing contracts (procedures, time and cost to resolve a commercial dispute)
• Resolving Insolvency (the time, cost and outcome of insolvency proceedings involving domestic entities)
Getting credit (strength of legal rights index, depth of credit information index) |
• Registering property
(procedures, time and cost to transfer commercial real estate)

• Protecting investors (strength of investor protection index: extent of disclosure index, extent of director liability index and ease of shareholder suits index)
• Paying taxes (number of tax payments, time to prepare and file tax returns and to pay taxes, total taxes as a share of profit before all taxes borne)
• Trading across borders (documents, time and cost to export and import)
• Dealing with construction permits (procedures, time and cost to obtain construction permits, inspections and utility connections)
• Getting Electricity (applications and contracts with electricity utilities, all necessary inspections and clearances from the utility and other agencies until the external and final connection works).
For a complete discussion of the methodology of the Doing Business report, see:
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The Doing Business project also encompasses a sub-ranking on starting a new business. It records all procedures that are officially required for an entrepreneur to start up and formally operate an industrial or commercial business. These include obtaining all necessary licenses and permits and completing any required notifications, verifications or inscriptions for the company and employees with relevant authorities. It also records the time and cost of complying with each procedure under normal circumstances and the paid-in minimum capital requirements. It is assumed that any required information is readily available and that all agencies involved in the start-up process function without corruption.

To make the data comparable across 185 economies, Doing Business uses a standardized business that is 100% domestically owned, has start-up capital equivalent to 10 times income per capita, engages in general industrial or commercial activities and employs between 10 and 50 people.
For a complete discussion of the Starting a New Business report, see:
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Best Countries for Doing Business, 2013
Data is from the World Bank's Doing Business 2013 report
(Published October 23 2012, on figures from June 2011 through May 2012.)
Click on the column heading to sort the table.