Doing Business 2016: the data on Italy


The 13th edition of “Doing Business”, the World Bank annual report on the state of health of economies, has just been published. This year’s edition is particularly significant, as it comes at the end of a major revision and improvement of the measurements of the ease of doing business. The revision, which was mainly aimed at capturing different dimensions of quality in indicator sets, led also to the introduction of an expanded data set for the labor market regulation indicators.

It is worth noticing that, despite these changes in methodology, there is a high correlation at the aggregate level between this year’s data under the old methodology and the same data under the new one. The list of the top 20 economies in the ease of doing business remains very similar to last year’s, with some reordering.

The report confirms a general trend toward improvement of quality and efficiency in business regulation in all economies, even though lower-income economies have improved more than high-income economies have.

As far as Italy is concerned, the new edition of Doing Business doesn’t bring good news (full data on Italy are available here).

Italy lost one point in the general rank, shifting at number 45 (out of 189 economies).

As for the single topics, the only sector that has improved is “enforcing contracts”, as summarized by the following table.

DB 2016 Rank DB 2015 Rank Change in rank
Ease of doing business 45 44 -1
Starting a business 50 48 -2
Dealing with construction permits 86 79 -7
Getting electricity 59 58 -1
Registering property 24 22 -2
Getting credit 97 90 -7
Protecting minority investors 36 33 -3
Paying Taxes 137 137 No change
Trading Across Borders 1 1 No change
Enforcing Contracts 111 124 +13
Resolving Insolvency 23 21 -2

Actually, slight improvements are recorded in the aggregate measure of distance to frontier (DTF), which benchmarks economies with respect to regulatory best practice, showing the absolute distance to the best performance on each Doing Business indicators. The DTF is indicated on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 represents the worst performance and 100 the frontier. The rate for Italy in 2016 is 72.07, which means 0,36% more than last year.

  DTF 2016 % DTF 2015 % Variation
DTF Total 72.07 71.71 +0.36
Starting a business 91.13 90.97 +0.16
Dealing with construction permits 69.31 69.25 +0.06
Getting electricity 76.37 76.36 +0.01
Registering property 81.67 81.66 +0.01
Getting credit 45 45 0
Protecting minority investors 63.33 63.33 0
Paying Taxes 62.98 63.35 -0.37
Trading Across Borders 100 100 0
Enforcing Contracts 54.79 51.17 +3.62
Resolving Insolvency 76.14 75.98 +0.16


(Eleonora Cavalieri)