The World Bank Group on September 16, 2021, issued the following statement on the Doing Business report:
“Trust in the research of the World Bank Group is vital. World Bank Group research informs the actions of policymakers, helps countries make better-informed decisions, and allows stakeholders to measure economic and social improvements more accurately. Such research has also been a valuable tool for the private sector, civil society, academia, journalists, and others, broadening understanding of global issues.
After data irregularities on Doing Business 2018 and 2020 were reported internally in June 2020, World Bank management paused the next Doing Business report and initiated a series of reviews and audits of the report and its methodology. In addition, because the internal reports raised ethical matters, including the conduct of former Board officials as well as current and/or former Bank staff, management reported the allegations to the Bank’s appropriate internal accountability mechanisms.
After reviewing all the information available to date on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and the report the Bank released today on behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group management has taken the decision to discontinue the Doing Business report. The World Bank Group remains firmly committed to advancing the role of the private sector in development and providing support to governments to design the regulatory environment that supports this. Going forward, we will be working on a new approach to assessing the business and investment climate. We are deeply grateful to the efforts of the many staff members who have worked diligently to advance the business climate agenda, and we look forward to harnessing their energies and abilities in new ways.”
Doing Business – Data Irregularities Statement (August 27, 2020)
Over the 17 years of its existence, the Doing Business report has been a valued tool for countries seeking to measure the costs of doing business. Doing Business indicators and methodology are designed with no single country in mind, but rather to help to improve the overall business climate.
A number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.
The integrity and impartiality of our data and analysis is paramount and so we are immediately taking the following actions:
- We are conducting a systematic review and assessment of data changes that occurred subsequent to the institutional data review process for the last five Doing Business reports.
- We have asked the World Bank Group’s independent Internal Audit function to perform an audit of the processes for data collection and review for Doing Business and the controls to safeguard data integrity.
We will act based on the findings and will retrospectively correct the data of countries that were most affected by the irregularities.
The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank has been briefed on the situation as have the authorities of the countries that were most affected by the data irregularities.
The publication of the Doing Business report will be paused as we conduct our assessment.
World Bank Group Statement on Doing Business Data Corrections and Findings of Internal Audit
“Over the past 17 years, the Doing Business report has been a valuable tool for many countries seeking to benchmark the business regulatory environment. The Doing Business indicators and methodology are designed to help countries to generate reform momentum to improve the overall business climate.
As noted in our statement of August 27, irregularities were reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. Management immediately called for a systematic review and assessment of data changes that occurred subsequent to the institutional data review process for the last five Doing Business reports. Management also requested the World Bank Group Internal Audit (GIA) perform an assurance review of data integrity in the production process of the Doing Business Report and verify management’s review of data irregularities in the Doing Business Reports from 2016 to 2020.
Following extensive review by management and a discussion with our Board of Executive Directors, today we are publishing:
- A full review of the data irregularities and required corrections affecting the data for the four affected countries;
- An independent verification of management’s review of the data irregularities by the World Bank Group Internal Audit (GIA);
- The findings of the World Bank Group Internal Audit (GIA) Assurance Review on Data Integrity in the Production Process of the Doing Business Report, together with management actions that have been and will be taken to strengthen the overall control environment and address the underlying vulnerabilities identified in the report.
While unrelated to the specific data irregularities, the Bank is also launching an external review of the Doing Business methodology with the goal of strengthening the product and its usefulness to stakeholders worldwide, with findings expected in mid-2021. The Terms of Reference can be found here.
We will be completing the arrangements for the publication of the Doing Business 2021 report in the coming months, incorporating the data corrections noted above. We will address the findings of these various reviews in this and future Doing Business reports.”
Management Review of Data Irregularities in the Doing Business Reports from 2016 to 2020: Verification Report (English)