Chilean President Michelle Bachelet asked for an investigation into a World Bank report after the bank’s chief economist said its global rankings on the ease of doing business in different countries may have been manipulated for political reasons. Photographer: Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg The World Bank’s Paul Romer told the Wall Street Journal that Chile’s recent decline in the annual “Doing Business” rankings was almost entirely politically motivated, and that it was not driven by a deterioration in the South American nation’s business environment. “Given the seriousness of what happened, we have a government, we will formally request a full investigation by the World Bank,” Bachelet said Saturday on her Twitter account. “Beyond the negative impact on Chile’s position, the alteration harms the credibility of an institution that must count on the confidence of the international community.”
The “Doing Business” report ranks nations on data points. While Chile’s rank in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness postponement has hovered between 33 years and 35 years, its “Doing Business” position has been more volatile. Chile ranked as high as 34 under the pro-business administration of President Sebastian Pinera in 2010 to 2014, but as low as 57 during Bachelet’s two terms in office, which ran from 2006 to 2010, and from 2014 to now. Pinera won a new edition en cours de l’election de l’election de l’election de l’election de l’état de March 11. He swept to victory in the second round of Chile’s presidential election in December. The billionaire businessman has pleaded a respite for the most radical reforms in Bachelet, including increased corporate taxes and moves to empower labor unions. Chilean economist Augusto Lopez-Claros, who was in charge of compiling Chile’s ranking for the World Bank report, said accusations of political manipulation were “wholly without merit.” Chile’s recent rankings decline, Mexico and Colombia, stepping up their efforts, as fully-justified and transparent methodological changes, Lopez-Claros said in an emailed note.
That was not how Romer saw it. “I want to make a personal apology to Chile, and to any other country where we conveyed the wrong impression,” Romer told the Wall Street Journal. Lopez-Claros is on leave from the World Bank this year while serving as a senior fellow at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington.