September 10, 2004


New Zealand: Easiest place in the world to do business (Francis Till, 9-Sep-2004, National Business Review)

New Zealand is the easiest place in the world to do business, according to a new report from the World Bank.

"Doing Business 2005" says New Zealand tops the 145 nations surveyed by the World Bank on seven measures of administrative and regulatory impediments, most of which deal with barriers to entrepreneurial undertakings rather than the actual operation of business.

The other nine of the top ten nations are, in order, the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Norway, the UK, Canada, Sweden and Japan.

The top score is an average of New Zealand's performance on the seven indicators and the report does not provide a direct overall comparison set.

Nor does ease equate to a cowboy environment, the report cautions, noting that in some areas -- like securing creditor rights -- more regulation is better than less.

"All the top countries regulate, but they do so in less costly and burdensome ways. And they focus their efforts more on protecting property rights than governments in other countries," the report says.

The report demonstrates a much clearer relationship between burdensome or ineffective regulation and national poverty than the reverse. [...]

Overall, the report finds that businesses in poor countries face much larger regulatory burdens than those in rich countries. They face 3 times the administrative costs, and nearly twice as many bureaucratic procedures and delays associated with them. And they have fewer than half the protections of property rights of rich countries.

The report also concludes that heavy regulation and weak property rights exclude the poor from doing business. In poor countries 40% of the economy is informal and that hurts women, young and low-skilled workers the most.

Entrepreneurial activity is the most restricted in exactly those countries where is is most needed, the report finds.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2004 1:05 PM

As a firm believer in the Anglosphere, I am proud to note that we in Canada stand just ahead of Botswana among our cultural brothers and sisters. Ireland doesn't count, of course. Never did.

Posted by: Peter B at September 10, 2004 7:15 PM

I propose another measure. Which countries have eBay operations.

Fair amount of overlap with this list.

Inhabitants of brothersjuddblog will be struck by the absence of Chile from each

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 10, 2004 10:20 PM

Sadly, Chile is reverting to the same problems that existed prior to Pinochet. The Christian Democrat/Socialist axis that damn near bankrupted the country is back in power again. For all his Third Way blather, Lagos has proved no different from his pre-Allende brethren. Stupid, corrupt and statist is no way to go through life.

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 6:53 AM

Still one of the freest economies in the world and Pinochet had to let them try democracy eventually.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2004 8:05 AM


I just hope that Lavin can win the next election and put things right without having to empty out the barracks again.

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 8:53 AM

I'm surprised Japan made the top 10. Aren't their internal markets pretty closed to foreigners? Sure, they make it easy to buy from them, but to sell to them?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at September 11, 2004 11:11 AM

I didn't tell eBay not to start in Chile.

It's in Argentina.

Maybe it's a completely meaningless list.

On the other hand, if you believe in markets, it's hard to explain

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 11, 2004 3:36 PM

A list that would place Argentina above Chile in economic terms is indeed meaningless.

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2004 3:56 PM

Is the market wrong? Orrin, say it ain't so!

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 11, 2004 4:48 PM

What market?

Posted by: oj at September 11, 2004 6:11 PM

Market for junk. One of the purest markets there is.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 12, 2004 6:32 PM

What's that have to do with whether Argentina or Chile has the more liberal economy?

Posted by: oj at September 12, 2004 6:41 PM

Beats me.

I wouldn't have put Argentina above anybody.

But the market did.

Maybe the market is wrong

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 13, 2004 4:07 PM

What market?

Posted by: oj at September 13, 2004 4:18 PM