Irwin Grayson Associates
Working papers

As I work, I sometime come across issues or approaches that appear to be worthy of writing about. Sometimes, the objective is simply to stimulate some debate. But it takes a long time to write in a way that might be attractive to a journal and then takes a long time for them to go through the process of peer review before anything is published. The consequence is that papers can be rather out of date by the time that they are published. So I will make available working papers here. Soemtimes, they may progress into papers. Other times, they are just to encourage readers to think about a topic. As ever, I would welcome feedback.

Doing Business: ratings trump rankings
The World Bank Doing Business results are widely used to promote reform. The headline score is the country ranking. Until 2014, this was based entirely on ranks in each of the underlying indicators merged together. Rankings imply an equal spread between consecutive ranks and effectively ignore shortcomings in the research methodology. Rankings can mislead - countries can fall in the rankings, even when they have improved, if others have done even better. Responding to criticism, in DB2013, the Bank introduced a 'distance to frontier' score, intended to give a more sophisticated understanding of what each country had to do to reach the position of the best. In DB2015 it went further and adjusted the way that the rank is calculated, so that it is now dependent on the DTF score, rather than the rank of each of the indicators. This is an improvement, but the Bank could go much further and simply use the rating scores to show each country's performance.
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