Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement on the World Bank’s decision to discontinue the “Doing Business” report.
“I am very pleased that the World Bank decided to end its annual country-ranking exercise known as the “Doing Business” report. I’ve long been critical of the “Doing Business” report’s deregulatory bias and its flawed methodology and economically irrational approach to development. I believe the report should have been abandoned long ago.
“In fact, I successfully fought for the elimination of the most controversial indicator in the report called “Employing Workers,” which was used to encourage governments to weaken worker protections with the purported aim of attracting foreign investment. The indicator was initially suspended a decade ago in response to pressure from this Committee, and after I made it clear to the Administration and the Bank that my cooperation in advancing congressional authorization for the World Bank’s recent capital increase was dependent on its elimination, World Bank Group President David Malpass committed to its permanent removal from the report.
“Independent and serious assessments of the “Doing Business” report have not found any credible link between the report’s indicators and positive development or economic outcomes.1 External evaluations have also consistently raised concerns about the quality and reliability of the data used to create the Doing Business index, and the lack of transparency into how the data is compiled and analyzed.
“The investigative report recently released by the World Bank detailing undue influence by China at the highest levels of the Bank, and the role that the current head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) played, as then-CEO of the Bank, in manipulating “Doing Business” data at the behest of the Chinese government is very troubling.
“This has undermined the reputation of the World Bank, and it has also called into question the current leadership at the IMF, where the integrity of data is critical to its mission, and where undue influence by any self-interested power could put the stability of the global financial system at risk. I urge quick action by the IMF Board of Directors to demonstrate that preserving the integrity of the Fund remains the priority objective.”