Open for Business...in 230 Days
By Amy Willis
How many steps would you have to go through if you wanted to open a new business in the United States? How about India? Venezuela? The difference might be important to more than just you…And that’s what this episode of EconTalk, filmed before a live audience as part of the Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum, was all about.
Host Russ Roberts welcomed the founder of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, Simeon Djankov (who also took a turn as the Minister of Finance for Bulgaria) and Atlas Network COO Matt Warner. Djankov’s work in measuring the regulatory burden on business across the world’s countries was the focus of much of the conversation, though an interesting turn toward the role of think tanks occurred toward the end.
1. Naturally, Roberts is skeptical of the reliability of the Doing Business Report (DBR) measurement practices. What does he mean when he says he fears that some nations might “teach to the test?” To what extent is this concern valid?
2. Why do you think it’s important to make a distinction between being pro-business and pro-capitalist? Where does Roberts’s notion of “pro-consumer” fit in here?
3. How can regulation create a sort of “fiefdom system” in a nation? How might the rankings within DBR mitigate this tendency?
4. After describing some inspiring advocacy success stories (such as in India and Argentina), Warner describes the advocacy model employed by the Atlas Network. How effective do you find their model? What should be the role of think tanks in the economy?
5. BONUS: How should Roberts measure the success of EconTalk (beyond number of downloads)?