World Bank Advisor, Melissa Johns discusses "Doing Business" as a tool to promote law and development

Earlier this afternoon, Melissa Johns, an Advisor in the World Bank and IFC's Finance and Private Sector Development Vice President, visited the UW Law School to speak on the topic of the World Bank's "Doing Business Indicators."  Focusing on the World Bank's "goal to end poverty," Johns discussed "Doing Business Indicators," how they work, and how they offer the World Bank a means to measure economic development through business.

As an example of how the indicators provide specific data on countries, Johns compared reports on the process for starting a new business in Surinam, New Zealand, and Sweden.  She pointed out the drastic differences between each process, noting that Surinam requires presidential approval while New Zealand offers a swift online application.

Even though countries may have drastically different business start-up processes, overall Johns noted a "huge increase in reform levels in impoverished countries."  Dispelling the idea of the "mythical best country" in terms of the "Doing Business Indicators," Johns explained the important role that reform plays in the World Bank rankings.  She stated that while some countries implement reforms, they may effectively go down in ranking if other countries implement comparatively more drastic reforms.

The event was hosted by Professors John Ohnesorge and Jason Yackee, and sponsored by the Global Legal Studies Center, the Wisconsin International Law Society, and the East Asian Legal Studies Center.

Submitted by EALSC News on March 25, 2014

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