The biggest concerns about the Doing Business Index are more fundamental. Comparative jurists, including myself, have found that the legal reforms favored by the Index always seem biased in favor of the common law-based systems followed by countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
For example, France, one of the largest economies in the world operating under a civil legal code, performed rather poorly in the initial rankings due to low scores on the measures “property registration” and “obtaining credit. “. And, in turn, that means countries like Algeria, Lebanon, and Indonesia that have built legal systems based on France or other non-Anglo-Saxon legal traditions are also unfairly affected by the ranking.
The rankings have been controversial since their launch. Joseph Stiglitz, who was chief economist at the World Bank in the late 1990s, said in a recent editorial that he thought it was a “terrible product” from the start.
“Countries received good marks for low corporate taxes and weak labor regulations,” he wrote. “The numbers were still soft, with small changes in the data having potentially big effects on rankings. Countries were inevitably upset when seemingly arbitrary decisions dragged them down the rankings. “
In other words, the Doing Business Index ends up pushing countries towards a corporate and corporate model focused on shareholders and modeled on American capitalism. This runs counter to many other models, such as those in Japan and Germany, which place more emphasis on workers and social goals like gender equality. Corporate governance scholars have discovered that these may be better models for some countries than American-style capitalism.