Ninth in a series of annual reports comparing business regulation in 185 economies, Doing Business 2013 measures regulations affecting 11 areas of everyday business activity: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; getting credit; protecting investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts; closing a business; and employing workers. The report updates all indicators as of June 1, 2011, ranks economies on their overall "ease of doing business", and analyses reforms to business regulation - identifying which economies are strengthening their business environment the most. Doing Business 2012 includes a new set of indicators on the time, steps, and cost for a private business to get an electricity connection. The data on connection services can inform utilities, regulators and governments seeking to strengthen the performance of the electricity sector. Drawing on a now longer time series, this year's report introduces a measure to illustrate how the regulatory environment for business has changed in each economy since Doing Business 2006 was published in 2005.
A new "distance to frontier" measure complements the aggregate ranking on the ease of doing business, which benchmarks each economy's current performance on the indicators against that of all other economies in the sample for a given year. A fundamental premise of Doing Business is that economic activity requires good rules that are transparent and accessible to all. Such regulations should be efficient, striking a balance between safeguarding some important aspects of the business environment and avoiding distortions that impose unreasonable costs on businesses. Where business regulation is burdensome and competition limited, success depends more on whom you know than on what you can do. But where regulations are relatively easy to comply with and accessible to all who need to use them, anyone with talent and a good idea should be able to start and grow a business in the formal sector.