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Ceasing Publication of the Doing Business Report

March 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.

Sincerely,

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

63.

ISMERI EUROPA SRL

Italy

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

(Azerbajan)

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

Malaysia

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)

Nepal

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

164.

CENTRO DE PROMOCIÓN Y EDUCACIÓN PROFESIONAL VASCO DE

QUIROGA

Mexico

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

Rellappe

Brazil

183.

Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisas sobre Educação Superior da

Universidade Federal do Pará

Brazil

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

Social

America Latina y el

Caribe

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

(PODER)

Mexico and Latin

America

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

215.

DUKINGIRE ISI YACU

Burundi

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

(RCIDC)

Uganda

227.

Réseau Camerounais des Organisations des Droits de l'Homme /

Cameroon Network of Human Rights Organisations

Cameroon

228.

Reseau des ONG et associations de développement de défense des

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

Niger

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

232.

TRANS GIRLS CAN-TGC

DRC

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)

Argentina

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


301.

Magdalena Sepúlveda, Executive Director of GI-ESCR and Former

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


Global

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)

India

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)

Canada

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