Ceasing Publication of the Doing Business Report

Mar 11, 2021

Letter to the World Bank Executive Directors

March 11, 2021

We write as concerned members of the civil society organisations, academia and trade unions to call upon the World Bank’s board of executive directors to end the publication of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report. As you are aware, the Doing Business Report has been the focus of longstanding and well- substantiated criticisms, including from academics, legal experts, civil society organisations and trade unions. Even high-level former UN and OECD officials have questioned the report. These criticisms have been raised on several grounds, including methodology, data selection and scope, questionable robustness of the aggregate rankings, and its anti-regulation bias.

The 2013 Independent Panel Review commissioned by the World Bank issued valuable recommendations, but the institutional response was limited. The panel recommended that the use of rankings be discontinued. It also recommended the permanent deletion of the labor market flexibility and tax rate indicators, as the latter penalizes countries that require businesses to pay corporate taxes or make contributions to social security, pensions and other social protection schemes that support households.

In 2018 Paul Romer, then the World Bank’s chief economist, said that “political motivation” of Bank staff may have contributed to a decline in Chile’s ranking under the social democratic President Michelle Bachelet. An audit commissioned by the Bank in 2018 found no evidence of interference, but detailed that “frequent methodology changes reduce the value of the indicators to researchers, policy makers and the media”.

The result is a high-stakes competition among countries, despite the foundational problems of the index and the limited meaning of year-over-year ranking comparisons. The outsized influence of the report undermines the broader policy engagement of the Bank by pushing governments toward unbalanced and short-term policymaking that is not actually beneficial for business, jobs, or sustainable development. The high-stakes nature of index positions may have also created the incentives for interference. As the world struggles to respond to and recover from the health and economic crises triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the consequences of the deregulatory race-to-the-bottom incentivised by the Doing Business Report and its world rankings have become painfully evident.

For too long, the Doing Business Report has encouraged policies that have worsened inequalities — including deregulations which exacerbated the global gender and racial division of labour, eroded labor protections and domestic resource mobilisation capacity, suppressed domestic aggregate demand and economic diversification and thus strained the legitimacy of state institutions.

As UNCTAD’s latest Trade and Development Report stresses, a just recovery will require that the world addresses a key weak aspect of the development paradigm: “Mainstream economic analysis has contributed to the lack of preparedness of policymakers by promoting the wrong notion of resilience — one focused on doing business and foreign investors, rather than good jobs and income security — with an attendant narrowing of the aims and objectives of economic policy.”

Efforts to investigate data irregularities are welcomed in the interest of transparency. However, the problem goes much deeper and cannot be resolved by tinkering at the edges. The underlying premises of the Doing Business Report are not supported by evidence and contradict the objectives of a just recovery. This is why its publication should cease.


The undersigned 346 civil society organisations, social movements, trade unions, academics and independent experts from 75 countries

Global/International Groups

1. Academics Stand Against Poverty Global
2. ActionAid International Global
3. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) Global
4. Big Shift Global Global
5. Bretton Woods Project Global
6. CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt) Global
7. Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) Global
8. Corporate Accountability Global
9. DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era) Global
10. European Services Strategy Unit Global
11. Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR) Global
12. Feminist Task Force Global
13. FIAN International Global
14. FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) Global
15. Fight Inequality Alliance Global
16. FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development Global
17. Global Alliance for Tax Justice Global
18. Global Initiative for Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) Global
19. Global Labour University Online Academy Global
20. Global Policy Forum Global
21. Global Social Justice Global
22. GRAIN Global
23. Health Poverty Action Global
24. Indigenous Peoples Global Forum for Sustainable Development, IPGFforSD Global
25. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Global
26. International Open Network Global
27. International Trade Union Confederation Global
28. International Transport Workers’ Federation Global
29. International Women’s Anthropology Conference Global
30. International Women’s Rights Action Watch – Asia Pacific Global
31. Oxfam Global
32. Public Services International Global
33. Regions Refocus Global
34. Social Watch Global
35. Society for International Development Global
36. Tax Justice Network Global
37. Transnational Institute Global
38. Tripla Difesa Onlus Global Internazional No Violence Global
39. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights Global
40. Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) Global
41. Womankind Worldwide Global

European Region

42. AFRD Georgia Georgia
43. African Women 4 Empowerment e.V. Germany
44. Alliance Sud Switzerland
45. Both ENDS The Netherlands
46. Bread for all Switzerland
47. CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) United Kingdom
48. CCFD-Terre Solidaire France
49. CNCD-11.11.11 Belgium
50. Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) Spain
51. Corporate Europe Observatory Europe
52. CROSOL — Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity Croatia
53. DemNet Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights Hungary
54. Dziewuchy Berlin Germany
55. Ekta Parishad — Belgique Belgique
56. Ekumenická akademie (Ecumenical Academy) Czech Republic
57. ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) Belgium
58. Eurodad Belgium
59. Europe solidaire sans 4rontiers (ESSF) France
60. FNV (The Netherlands Trade Union Confederation) The Netherlands
61. Fresh Eyes — People to People Travel United Kingdom
62. Institut Rousseau France
64. Jubilee Scotland Scotland, United Kingdom
65. K.U.L.U.-Women and Development (KULU) Denmark
66. Lithuanian NGDO Platform Lithuania
67. National Society of Conservationists — Friends of the Earth Hungary Hungary
68. NHS — Independent Trade Unions of Croatia (ITUC, ETUC) Croatia
69. Observatori del Deute en la Globalització Spain, Catalonia
70. Oikos — Cooperação e Desenvolvimento Portugal
71. Paul Dembinski — Observatoire de la Finance Switzerland
72. Recourse The Netherlands
73. Social Justice in Global Development Germany
74. SOC-SAT Andalucia (Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores ) Spain
75. SOL (alternatives agroécologiques et solidaires) France
76. UndebtedWorld Greece
77. Universidad de Salamanca Spain
78. Urgewald Germany
79. WECF — Women Engage for a Common Future The Netherlands
80. Wemos The Netherlands
81. Zukunftskonvent Germany Germany

Asia and Pacific Region

82. ACT NOW! Papua New Guinea
83. Aid Organization Bangladesh
84. Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) Bangladesh
85. All India Forum for Right to Education India
86. Alliance of Government Workers in the Water Sector (AGWWAS) Philippines
87. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) Asia and the Pacific
88. Association For Promotion Sustainable Development India
89. Association of Kerala Water Authority Officers India
90. Association of War Affected Women Sri Lanka
91. Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance Australia
92. Bayansharga NGO Mongolia
93. Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha BJVJ India
94. Center for Promoting Democracy India
95. Centre for Budget Governance and Accountability (CBGA) India
96. Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA) India
97. Centre for Human Rights and Development Mongolia
98. CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network)) Bangladesh
99. Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ) Nepal
100. Dalit NGO Federation Nepal
101. DIGNIDAD Movement Philippines
102. Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality Fiji
103. Earth Economics Lab (EEL) India
104. Empower India India
105. EMPOWER Malaysia Malaysia
106. femLINKpacific – Media Initiatives for Women Fiji
107. Fiji Women’s Rights Organisation Fiji
108. Focus on the Global South Asia
109. Freedom from Debt Coalition Philippines
110. Freelance journalist India
111. Human Rights and Justice Centre Nepal
112. Inclusive Media for Change (www.im4change.org) India
113. Indian Social Action Forum India
114. Indigenous Perspectives India
115. International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) Asia and the Pacific
116. It’s Our Future NZ New Zealand
117. Joint Action for Water India
118. Jubilee Australia Australia
119. LEOS – Women’s National NGO Mongolia
120. Lok Shakti Abhiyan India
121. Machhimar Adhikar Sangarsh Sangathan India
122. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra India
123. Mohd Arif Business Educational World (MABEW) India
124. Mongolian National Association of Wheelchair Users Mongolia
125. Mongolian Women’s Employment Support Federation Mongolia
126. Nadi Ghati Morcha India
127. NAPM (National Alliance of People’s Movements) India
128. National Alliance of People’s Movements India
129. National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal Nepal
130. National Center Against Violence Mongolia
131. National Hawkers Federation India
132. Nepal Alternative Research Society (NARS) Nepal
133. New Trade Union Initiative India
134. NGO Forum on ADB Asia Regional
135. Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization Public Union Азербайджан


136. Oyu Tolgoi Watch Mongolia
137. Pacific Network on Globalisation Pacific Islands
138. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Pakistan
139. Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee Pakistan
140. Participatory Research Action Network- PRAN Bangladesh
141. People’s Health Movement Australia Australia
142. Platform for Social Justice India, Maharashtra
143. Psychological Responsiveness NGO Mongolia
144. Radha Paudel Foundation Nepal
145. RIGHTS Foundation Indonesia and


146. RIHRDO (Rural Infrastructure and Human Resource Development Organization) Pakistan
147. RITES Forum India
148. Rural Area Development Programme (RADP) Nepal
149. Rural Infrastructure & Human Resource Development Organization (RIHRDO) Pakistan
150. Sayanaa Wellbieng Association NGO Mongolia
151. Steps Without Borders NGO Mongolia
152. The Center for Women in Twenty-First Century NGO Mongolia
153. The Gender Security Project India
154. Trade Union Joint Action Committee (MAHARASHTRA) India, Mumbai
155. Tuva eej NGO Mongolia
156. URD (Universal Rights and Development) NGO Mongolia
157. Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation

(YFEED Foundation)

158. छत्रपती शाहू महाराज विचार मंच India

South, Central and North America Regions

159. Afirmación Profesional Argentina
160. ALAMES Bolivia (Asociación Latinoamericana De Medicina Social y Salud Colectiva) Bolivia
161. Asociacion Ambiente y Sociedad Colombia
162. Canadian Labour Congress Canada
163. Center for Democratic Education United States


165. Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación y Desarrollo Alternativo U YIch Lu’um, AC México
166. CGTP (Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú) Peru
167. Comisión Nacional de Enlace Costa Rica
168. Congregación NSC Buen Pastor Ecuador
169. DECIDAMOS, Campaña por la expresion ciudadana Paraguay
170. Democratic Socialists of America — International Committee, Economics & Trade Subcommittee United States
171. Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Peru
172. Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia Mexico
173. Foro Permanente de Política Exterior Chile
174. Freshwater Action Network Mexico México
175. Friends of the Earth US United States
176. Fuerza Mundial – Continuum United States/Global
177. Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) Argentina
178. Fundacion SES America Latina y el Caribe
179. Gender Action United States
180. Gestos (soropositividade, comunicação, gênero) Brazil
181. Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity United States
182. GREPPE/Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas em Politicas Educacionais e


183. Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas sobre Educação Superior da

Universidade Federal do Pará

184. La Asamblea Veracruzana de Iniciativas y Defensa Ambiental (LAVIDA) México
185. Latindadd Paraguay
186. Local Futures United States
187. Mesa de Vinculacion Mecanismo Sociedad Civil Foro Desarrollo


America Latina y el


188. Movimiento Nacional Campesino Indígena CLOC La Via Campesina Argentina
189. MY World Mexico Mexico
190. National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) United States
191. Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples United States
192. Peronismo Argentina
193. Project on Organizing, Development, Education and Research


Mexico and Latin


194. Protección Internacional Mesoamérica Centroamérica y México
195. Reaccion Climatica Bolivia
196. Servicios Ecumenicos para Reconciliacion y Reconstruccion – SERR United States
197. Sisters of Charity Federation United States
198. The Oakland Institute United States
199. The Somist Institute United States
200. Win Without War United States

Africa and MENA Regions

201. AbibiNsroma Foundation Ghana
202. Africa Faith and Justice Network Africa
203. African Centre for Biodiversity South Africa
204. African Coalition for Corporate Accountability South Africa
205. African Forum and Network on Debt and Development Africa
206. Akina Mama wa Afrika Uganda
207. Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities Ghana
208. Alternative Information and Development Centre South Africa
209. Arab Watch Coalition Morocco
210. Association pour la défense des droits à l’eau et à l’assainissement Sénégal
211. Bella Foundation for Child and Maternal Care Nigeria
212. Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO) Uganda
213. Centre d’Etude et d’Appui au Développement (CEAD) Guinea
214. Common Ground for Africa Kenya
216. Foundation for Environmental Management and Campaign Against Poverty Tanzania
217. Green Advocates International Liberia
218. Initiative for Educational and Economic Development (INEAED) Nigeria
219. Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) Uganda
220. Jamaa Resource Initiatives Kenya
221. Lumière Synergie pour le Développement Sénégal
222. Member in the truth and dignity commission Tunisia
223. Nawi – Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective Kenya
224. New Women Foundation Egypt- MENA
225. OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa) Sierra Leone
226. Regional Center for International Development Cooperation


227. Réseau Camerounais des Organisations des Droits de l’Homme /

Cameroon Network of Human Rights Organisations

228. Reseau des ONG et associations de développement de défense des

droits de l’homme et de la démocratie (RODADDHD)

229. Success Capital Organisation Botswana
230. Syndicat National du Personnel des Collectivités Territoriales de

Cote d’Ivoire

Cote d’Ivoire
231. Tax Justice Network Africa Africa
233. Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development / INFORSE East Africa Uganda
234. Witness Radio – Uganda Uganda
235. Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) Zimbabwe

Academics and Independent Experts

236. Aaron Schneider, University of Denver United States
237. Abay Ezra, Addis Ababa University Ethiopia
238. Abu Shonchoy, Florida International University United States
239. Agha Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Trent University Canada
240. Alex Izurieta, UNCTAD/ Senior Economist Global
241. Alfredo Saad Filho, King’s College London United Kingdom
242. Alicia Puyana Mutis, Facultad Latinoamericana de CienciasnSociales Mexico
243. Amitabh Pandey, Daily Akhand Doot Newspaper India, Madhya Pradesh
244. Amjad Rabi Canada
245. Anamitra Roychowdhury, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi India
246. Andrea Saltelli, Uversitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Barcelona Spain
247. Andreas Novy, Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna) Austria
248. Andrew M. Fischer, Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
249. Anil T Varghese, Anik India
250. Anis Chowdhury, Western Sydney University Australia
251. Anne-Marie Bossy Cornford Genève
252. Anupam Mitra, Punjab National Bank Employees Federation of India India
253. Atef Soliman, Gatef organization Egypt
254. Barun Chatterjee India
255. Basani Baloyi, Institute for Economic Justice South Africa
256. Bruno Bonizzi, University of Hertfordshire United Kingdom
257. C P Chandrasekhar, Economic Research Foundation India
258. Carla García Zendejas, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) United States
259. Chris Faugere, Kedge Business School France
260. Christoph Scherrer, University of Kassel Germany
261. Claudio Schuftan Global
262. Daniel Kostzer, International Labour Organization Asia and the Pacific
263. David McDonald, Municipal Services Project Canada
264. Devika Dutt, University of Massachusetts Amherst United States
265. Diane Elson, Emeritus Professor, University of Essex United Kingdom
266. Dimitri Papadimitriou, Levy Economics Institute United States
267. Dr Margot Salomon, Law Department, London School of Economics United Kingdom
268. Dr Michael Cichon Germany
269. Dr. Mira Shiva India
270. Dr. Oliver C. Ujah, Aces-Key Consulting Ltd Ghana, West Africa
271. Eduardo Strachman, São Paulo State University – UNESP Brazil
272. Elisa Van Waeyenberge, SOAS, University of London United Kingdom
273. Filip Stefanovic, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD France
274. Frances Stewart, University of Oxford United Kingdom
275. Francine Mestrum, Global Social Justice Global
276. Francis Cripps, Alphametrics Thailand
277. Gabriele Koehler Germany
278. Garima Bhalla India
279. Gregory Andrusz, Retired emeritus professor of comparative sociology Europe
280. Hari Roka, ex Member of Parliament, Nepal Nepal
281. Heather Nicholson United States
282. Helmut Reisen Germany
283. Ilene Grabel, Distinguished University Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver United States
284. Isabel Ortiz, former Director at ILO and UNICEF Global
285. Jan Vandemoortele, Formerly with UNICEF Belgium
286. Javier Varela Marimón Spain
287. Jayati Ghosh, University of Massachusetts at Amherst United States
288. João P.C. Guimarães Portugal
289. José Antonio Ocampo, Professor, Columbia University United States
290. Jose Antonio Romero Tellaeche, El Colegio de México México
291. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, former Independent Expert on Foreign

Debt and Human Rights (2014-2020)

292. K K Kailash, Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad India
293. Kamal Chenoy, JNU retired professor India
294. Kenneth Surin, Duke University USA United States
295. Korkut Boratav, Turkish Social Science Assocation Turkey
296. Kyla Sankey, PSIRU University of Greenwich United Kingdom
297. Lena Dominelli United Kingdom
298. Luis D. Rosero, Framingham State University United States
299. Luis Reyes, Kedge Business School France
300. Machiko Nissanke, SOAS, University of London United Kingdom


Magdalena Sepúlveda, Executive Director of GI-ESCR and Former

UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights (2008-2014)



302. Manfred Nitsch, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy Germany
303. Manohar Rao Janga, University of Hyderabad India
304. Marion Cohen France
305. Marjan Nikolov, Center for Economic Analyses, North Macedonia North Macedonia
306. Marta Kuc-Czarnecka, Gdansk Univeristy of Technology Poland
307. Matias Vernengo, Bucknell University United States
308. Matthew Cummins Kenya
309. Milford Bateman, Juraj Dobrila University at Pula Croatia
310. Murat Öztürk, Kırklareli University Turkey
311. Mustafa Özer, Anadolu University, professor Turkey
312. MV Srinivasan, National Council of Educational Research and

Training (NCERT)

313. Nicholas Shaxson, Author, Treasure Islands and The Finance Curse United Kingdom and Germany
314. Nimi Hoffmann, University of Sussex United Kingdom
315. Nitin Bisht, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee India
316. Omar Al Bizri, Ex UNESCWA Lebanon
317. Oscar Ugarteche, UNAM Mexico
318. P. Sai-wing Ho, University of Denver United States
319. Pasquale De Muro, Roma Tre University Italy
320. Paul Robert Gilbert, University of Sussex United Kingdom
321. Pierre Habbard, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD France
322. Pierre J. Hamel, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) Québec
323. Prabha Khosla, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement

of Women (CRIAW-ICREF)

324. Prof Jimi Adesina, University of South Africa South Africa
325. Prof Sir Richard Jolly, IDS- Institute of Development Studies, Sussex United Kingdom
326. Prof Susan Engel, University of Wollongong Australia
327. Professor Michael Noble, Southern African Social Policy Research Institute South Africa/United Kingdom
328. Radhika Balakrishnan, Rutgers University Global
329. Rick Rowden, American University United States
330. Sandra Polaski, Boston University Global Development Policy Center United States
331. Sanjay Reddy, The New School for Social Research United States
332. Sarang Yadwadkar India
333. Sergio Cesaratto, University of Siena Italy
334. Sílvia Lopez, New York University Mexico
335. Siobhan Airey, University College Dublin Ireland
336. Sonia Phalatse, Institute for Economic Justice South Africa
337. Subash Sharan, SHS & ASSOCIATES India
338. Susan Spronk, Municipal Services Project Canada
339. Tarron Khemraj, New College of Florida United States
340. Theresa Adriao, University of Campinas (UNICAMP) Brazil
341. Thiago Gehre Galvao, UnB2030 – Universtity of Brasilia Brazil
342. Thomas Lagoarde-Segot, Kedge Business School France
343. Thomas Marois, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose United Kingdom
344. Yavuz Yasar, University of Denver United States
345. Zahra Karimi Moughari, University Of Mazandaran Iran
346. Zsuzsa FERGE, University Eotvos, Budapest Hungary