Strength of legal rights index (0=weak to 12=strong)
Definition: Strength of legal rights index measures the degree to which collateral and bankruptcy laws protect the rights of borrowers and lenders and thus facilitate lending. The index ranges from 0 to 12, with higher scores indicating that these laws are better designed to expand access to credit.
Description: The map below shows how Strength of legal rights index (0=weak to 12=strong) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is New Zealand, with a value of 12.00. The country with the lowest value in the world is São Tomé and Principe, with a value of 0.00.
Source: World Bank, Doing Business project (http://www.doingbusiness.org/).
Development Relevance: Access to finance can expand opportunities for all with higher levels of access and use of banking services associated with lower financing obstacles for people and businesses. A stable financial system that promotes efficient savings and investment is also crucial for a thriving democracy and market economy. There are several aspects of access to financial services: availability, cost, and quality of services. The development and growth of credit markets depend on access to timely, reliable, and accurate data on borrowers' credit experiences. Access to credit can be improved by making it easy to create and enforce collateral agreements and by increasing information about potential borrowers' creditworthiness. Lenders look at a borrower's credit history and collateral. Where credit registries and effective collateral laws are absent - as in many developing countries - banks make fewer loans. Indicators that cover getting credit include the strength of legal rights index and the depth of credit information index. The economic health of a country is measured not only in macroeconomic terms but also by other factors that shape daily economic activity such as laws, regulations, and institutional arrangements. The data measure business regulation, gauge regulatory outcomes, and measure the extent of legal protection of property, the flexibility of employment regulation, and the tax burden on businesses. The fundamental premise of this data is that economic activity requires good rules and regulations that are efficient, accessible to all who need to use them, and simple to implement. Thus sometimes there is more emphasis on more regulation, such as stricter disclosure requirements in related-party transactions, and other times emphasis is on for simplified regulations, such as a one-stop shop for completing business startup formalities. Entrepreneurs may not be aware of all required procedures or may avoid legally required procedures altogether. But where regulation is particularly onerous, levels of informality are higher, which comes at a cost: firms in the informal sector usually grow more slowly, have less access to credit, and employ fewer workers - and those workers remain outside the protections of labor law. The indicator can help policymakers understand the business environment in a country and - along with information from other sources such as the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys - provide insights into potential areas of reform.
Limitations and Exceptions: The Doing Business methodology has limitations that should be considered when interpreting the data. First, the data collected refer to businesses in the economy's largest city and may not represent regulations in other locations of the economy. To address this limitation, subnational indicators are being collected for selected economies. These subnational studies point to significant differences in the speed of reform and the ease of doing business across cities in the same economy. Second, the data often focus on a specific business form - generally a limited liability company of a specified size - and may not represent regulation for other types of businesses such as sole proprietorships. Third, transactions described in a standardized business case refer to a specific set of issues and may not represent the full set of issues a business encounters. Fourth, the time measures involve an element of judgment by the expert respondents. When sources indicate different estimates, the Doing Business time indicators represent the median values of several responses given under the assumptions of the standardized case. Fifth, the methodology assumes that a business has full information on what is required and does not waste time when completing procedures.
Statistical Concept and Methodology: Data are collected by the World Bank with a standardized survey that uses a simple business case to ensure comparability across economies and over time - with assumptions about the legal form of the business, its size, its location, and nature of its operation. Surveys are administered through more than 9,000 local experts, including lawyers, business consultants, accountants, freight forwarders, government officials, and other professionals who routinely administer or advise on legal and regulatory requirements. The Doing Business project of the World Bank encompasses two types of data: data from readings of laws and regulations and data on time and motion indicators that measure efficiency in achieving a regulatory goal. Within the time and motion indicators cost estimates are recorded from official fee schedules where applicable. The data from surveys are subjected to numerous tests for robustness, which lead to revision or expansion of the information collected. For more information on methodology, see http://www.doingbusiness.org/Methodology/getting-credit#legalRights.
Aggregation method: Unweighted average
General Comments: Data are presented for the survey year instead of publication year. Data before 2013 are not comparable with data from 2013 onward due to methodological changes.