Press Release -- OECD High-Income Economies

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Nadine Ghannam
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OECD High-Income Economies Improve Insolvency Systems and Ease Tax Burdens for Entrepreneurs

Washington D.C., October 20, 2011— A new IFC and World Bank report finds that in the past year, 21 of the 31 high-income economies belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have implemented regulatory reforms that make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business.

Released today, Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies. The report ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency, and trading across borders. This year, the rankings on ease of doing business were expanded to include indicators on getting electricity.

OECD economies classified as high-income by the World Bank focused most of their reform efforts on strengthening insolvency systems, easing the tax burden for local business, and streamlining business startup. Australia, Denmark, Italy, and six other economies reformed insolvency regimes. Greece, Portugal, and Spain simplified business startup. Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Korea, and New Zealand eased taxes and tax administration burdens on entrepreneurs.

Offering some of the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environments for entrepreneurs, OECD high-income economies hold eight of the top 10 spots in the global ranking. The Republic of Korea joined the top 10 for the first time, after streamlining business entry, tax payments, and contract enforcement. Iceland also joined the top 10 by simplifying the tax system and strengthening investor protections. New Zealand ranked third, while the United States ranked fourth. 

“OECD high-income economies maintain their leadership by continuing to make improvements to regulations and systems that encourage local business,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “Electronic systems and easy access to information on business regulation play an important role.” 

All OECD high-income economies have electronic registries for registering and transferring property. Thirty economies make fee schedules for company incorporation available online or through public notices. The United Kingdom allows comments on regulatory proposals on a public website. Canada and the United States publish guidelines on the cost-benefit analysis of new regulations. 

Over the past six years, 25 of OECD’s high-income economies have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. “Transparent and easily accessible business regulations allow entrepreneurs to focus on building their business instead of navigating bureaucracy,” said Sylvia Solf, lead author of the report.

About the Doing Business report series

Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 183 economies. Previous year’s rankings are back-calculated to account for the addition of new indicator(s), data corrections, and methodology changes in existing indicators so as to provide a meaningful comparison with the new rankings. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, the level of skills, or the strength of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates in more than 80 economies and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. For more information about the Doing Business report series, please visit Join us on Facebook.

World Bank classification of countries and regions 

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit,, and

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