Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2009

Do Regulatory Reforms Stimulate Investment and Growth? Evidence from the Doing Business Data

Benjamin P. Eifert

January 2009

Center for Global Development


The role of regulatory barriers in inhibiting entrepreneurship, investment and employment creation is an old topic in economics. This study utilizes a five-year panel of data on regulations and procedures from the World Bank’s Doing Business project, along with Arellano-Bond dynamic panel estimators, looking for evidence that regulatory reforms lead to higher aggregate investment rates (roughly, factor demand) or GDP growth conditional on investment rates (roughly, factor productivity). It looks both at individual regulatory indicators and more aggregate measures of the incidence of reforms, finding some evidence of positive impacts of regulatory reforms in countries which are relatively poor (conditional on governance) and relatively well-governed (conditional on income). Relatively poor and relatively well-governed countries grow about 0.4 and 0.2 percentage points faster in the year immediately following one or more reforms, respectively. In both subsets of countries, investment rates accelerate by about 0.6 percentage points in the subsequent year.