¿Qué hacer con Doing Business?

CAMBRIDGE – Por presiones de China y otros Estados, el Banco Mundial está examinando la posibilidad de suspender la publicación de su informe Doing Business. Ha pedido a Trevor Manuel, ministro del Gobierno de Sudáfrica durante mucho tiempo, que encabece una comisión para examinar ese asunto.

Doing Business, ideado, entre otros, por mi colega de Harvard Andrei Shleifer y Simeon Djankov, miembro del personal del Banco Mundial que más adelante pasó a ser ministro de Hacienda de Bulgaria, calibra indicadores como el tiempo y el costo necesarios para registrar una empresa, pagar los impuestos, ejercer el comercio transfronterizo, obtener un préstamo, conseguir un permiso de construcción o hacer cumplir un contrato. De facilitar los datos se encargan bufetes de abogados que rellenan un cuestionario sobre los requisitos legales y administrativos para realizar esas tareas.

El proyecto surgió a partir de una pregunta que se desprende de las investigaciones y que atañe al núcleo del debate sobre el papel adecuado y las motivaciones reales del Estado al regular los mercados: ¿existe la reglamentación para lograr un objetivo social loable o principalmente para obtener ingresos? Hace mucho que esta pregunta divide a los economistas a lo largo de un eje derecha-izquierda, al menos desde que los economistas de la Universidad de Chicago George Stigler y Milton Friedman sostuvieron que muchos –si no la mayoría– de los reglamentos estaban motivados por el deseo de obtener ingresos por parte de burócratas y empresas con una posición dominante.

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