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Doing Business in 2005: Obstacles to Growth

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Doing Business in 2005: Obstacles to Growth is the second in a series of annual reports investigating the scope and manner of regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. New quantitative indicators on business regulations and their enforcement can be compared across more than 130 countries, and over time. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms have worked, where and why.

Topics in Doing Business in 2005 include: Licensing and Inspections: Having registered a business, now what? In most countries, firms face a myriad of sector specific licenses as well as inspections to enforce compliance. The Doing Business database constructs two sets of indicators on the regulation of operations. One measures the steps, time and costs of complying with licensing and permit requirements for ongoing. The other assesses the enforcement of regulations through two of the most common types of inspections-labor and tax.

Registering Property: Property registries were first developed to help raise tax revenue. What was good for the tax authorities has since proven to be good for strengthening property rights-the registries strengthen incentives to invest, facilitate trade, and expand access to credit. New
indicators cover the steps, time and cost to register property. Measures of the legal provisions that strengthen property rights and the efficiency of property registries are also developed.

Protecting Investors: Corporate governance issues are often thought to affect only publicly listed companies in developed countries. In fact, corporate governance is relevant for every large privately held company that has more than one owner. New indicators examine several possible types of shareholder expropriation, including related-party transactions, guarantees and loans to company managers and directors, mergers and acquisitions, disclosure of ownership information, and treatment of conflicts of interest.

Including a new emphasis on gender, Doing Business not only provides insights into business constraints throughout the world but highlights particular barriers faced by women. Doing Business is a comprehensive resource that no investor, economic adviser, business developer, or economic policymaker should be without.

About the Author

The World Bank Group is a group of five international organizations responsible for providing finance and advice to countries for the purposes of economic development and poverty reduction, and for encouraging and safeguarding international investment. The group and its affiliates have their headquarters in Washington, D.C., with local offices in 124 member countries.
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