A World Bank internal audit has found that its managers pressured employees to manipulate global business rankings. This helped China and Saudi Arabia rank higher in its “Doing Business” report, making the countries look like better places to do business.
An internal survey in April 2020 revealing that employees were concerned about the integrity of data triggered the audit.
The investigation found that nine of the 15 employees on the report’s production team were pressured to manipulate data.
After readjusting the previous year’s reports, China’s ranking moved the most. It dropped 7 places to 85th in the 2017 report. The “Doing Business” report shows countries that are easiest to do business in. It uses various measures, including how easy it is to start a business, access to credit, and the impact of tax policies.
Former World Bank Chief Economist Paul Romer said the data is prone to manipulation. He was also concerned about the political motivations behind the changes in rank.
New Zealand is ranked number one in the latest report.
The World Bank says it’s reviewing its methodology to boost the product and make it more useful.