Skip to Main Navigation

The Development Effectiveness of the Use of Doing Business Indicators, Fiscal Years 2010-20 - An Independent Evaluation (English)

IEG began preparing the evaluation in June 2020, in response to a request from the World Bank Group Board’s Committee on Development Effectiveness. In March 2021, IEG produced an Issues Paper identifying lines of inquiry for the main evaluation, distributed it for internal and management reviews, and submitted it to CODE in June 2021. In September 2021, as the evaluation was undergoing final revisions, World Bank Group management decided to discontinue the Doing Business report. In announcing its decision, the Bank Group stated that it intended to work on a new approach to assess business and investment climates. In February 2022, the Bank published a pre-concept note introducing the Business Enabling Environment project (BEE), a new benchmarking exercise to “measure the business enabling environment in economies worldwide.” In this context and given the use of multiple other global indicators in reforms, the learning from this evaluation report is highly relevant. A cover note extends its findings to the use of other global indicators, including the successor Business Enabling Environment Project. The evaluation seeks to guide any new approach using evidence-based indicators so that it builds on the many good practices observed in Doing Business and considers the substantial power that these indicators have to motivate and engage client countries in business environment reform. It calls for indicators to be used in a balanced and accurate manner guiding the choice of reform priorities in client countries with the greatest development benefits for their socio-economic situation. The following generalized lessons can be drawn from the report: (i) Recognizing the powerful motivational effect of reform indicators, this evaluation notes the limitations in the coverage and guidance offered by any single indicator set on its own and advocates integrating them with complementary analytic tools and indicators. (ii) Recognizing the granularity and specificity of individual reforms in any given country context, the findings suggest that it is better to avoid using business regulatory or similar global indicators as explicit reform objectives or monitoring indicators in Bank Group projects and country strategies focused on improving the business environment. This does not preclude the use of primary data to track and measure agreed targets critical to Bank Group institutional commitments. (iii) Global indicators coverage and specifications are improved if, at regular and predictable intervals, they are updated to reflect learning from research and field experience to (i) improve links to important development outcomes; (ii) strengthen relevance to the experience of the subject of coverage; and (iii) adapt to technological changes in the areas covered by the indicators. (iv) The DB experience indicates the need for mechanisms and safeguards to assure the accuracy and validity of World Bank Group global indicator-based reports and related communications, using robust and transparent standards of evidence.


  • Document Date


  • Document Type

    IEG Evaluation

  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country


  • Region

    The World Region,

  • Disclosure Date


  • Disclosure Status


  • Board Meeting Date


  • Doc Name

    The Development Effectiveness of the Use of Doing Business Indicators, Fiscal Years 2010-20 - An Independent Evaluation

  • Keywords

    Committee for Development Effectiveness; committee on development effectiveness; small and medium enterprise; legal and regulatory framework; regulatory environment for business; gross domestic product growth; business environment; business life cycle; investment climate; global knowledge sharing; design of reforms; regulatory best practice; burden of regulation; area of regulation; theory of change; impact of reforms; incentives for governments; benefits from globalization; promotion of competition; quality of infrastructure; foreign direct investment; investment climate condition; external peer review; literature review; Global Indicator; Business Regulation; reform priorities; pay taxes; Advisory services; construction permit; binding constraint; across border; deep dives; reform objectives; government use; measure of reform; field experience; several areas; data integrity; external expert; public policy; portfolio review; technological change; Client Engagement; strategic agenda; country ranking; strategic focus; performance assessment; machine learning; business property; international initiative; econometric analysis; reform implementation; institutional environment; Job Creation; civil society; evaluation method; primary data; monitoring indicator; reform measure; transparent standard; enterprise survey; base case; fair business; research literature; unintended consequence; individual indicator; Gender Equality; business process; monitoring tool; reform outcomes; empirical support; economic reform; subnational levels; contradictory evidence; several countries; minority investor; several sources; reform effort; regulatory condition; regulatory constraint; academic research; intermediate outcome; institutional factor; country benchmarking; minority business; several times; academic journal; search term; Research Organizations; think tank; regulatory design; deadweight loss; shareholder right; evaluation period; enabling conditions; total weight; million people; large business; freight forwarder; regulatory performance; tax rate; trade indicators; panel review; value judgment; business indicator; related claim; bureaucratic delay; fight corruption; formal sector; medium-size enterprise; informal sector; agricultural productivity; off-farm employment; national indicator; environment indicator; outcome measure; labor productivity; external factor; coverage area; best use; regulatory area; available evidence; institutional condition; multiple channels; cross-country comparison; new business; extreme poverty; statutory regulations; working condition; informal meeting; legal information; statutory law; business practice; life span; medium-size company; regulatory economics; economic freedom; subsidiary right; operational work; motivational effect; national reform; graphic design; exchange information; administrative support; portfolio analysis; noncommercial purposes



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


The Development Effectiveness of the Use of Doing Business Indicators, Fiscal Years 2010-20 - An Independent Evaluation (English). Corporate and process evaluation Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.