The Ease of Doing Business Report is an index created by the World Bank, ranking 181 countries in 7 different regions around the world, on the basis of creating and maintaining a business-friendly environment. Higher rankings generally indicate better, simpler regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights. Here is the list (click on the image to see the entire list):

The index is based on the study of laws and regulations, with the input and verification by more than 5,000 government officials, lawyers, business consultants, accountants and other professionals who routinely advise on or administer legal and regulatory requirements.

Here are the regions with the friendliest regulations:

A country’s ranking is determined based on the average of these 10 sub-indices:

  • Starting a business – Procedures, time, cost and minimum capital to open a new business
  • Dealing with licenses – Procedures, time and cost of business inspections and licensing (construction industry)
  • Hiring and firing workers – Difficulty of hiring index, rigidity of hours of index, difficulty of firing index, hiring cost and firing cost
  • Registering property – Procedures, time and cost to register commercial real estate
  • Getting credit – Strength of legal rights index, depth of credit information index
  • Protecting investors – Indices on the extent of disclosure, extent of director liability and ease of shareholder suits
  • Paying taxes – Number of taxes paid, hours per year spent preparing tax returns and total tax payable as share of gross profit
  • Trading across borders – Number of documents, number of signatures and time necessary to export and import
  • Enforcing contracts – Procedures, time and cost to enforce a debt contract
  • Closing a business – Time and cost to close down a business, and recovery rate

It’s good to see America near the top of the list, with the likes of free-capitalist economies Hong Kong and Ireland. With the US in a recession, and a government ready to raise taxes, toughen regulations, and restrict trade, lets hope we stay in the status quo, or as least steer away from policies that would be detrimental to businesses here and abroad.

Corporate Tax Rates By Country