Those of us who support evidence-based policy making are heartened by the current emphasis on and investment in data. But as with all things, there are caveats:
1. Your data should measure what matters, otherwise we risk what's measured becoming what matters.
2. Data must be used wisely, particularly where causality is not proven, and should support not undermine other aspects of a good policy-making process, particularly consultation.
3. Data should be as robust as possible, cross-checked and honest about any short-comings.
According to a recent review by an expert panel appointed by World Bank President Jim Kim, Doing Business currently falls short on all three of these tests. (See their findings on www.dbrpanel.org and civil societies recommendations for change at http://www.cafod.org.uk/content/download/12931/99953/file/Doing%20Better.pdf).
A good tool to provide governments with information on whether their business environment is helping or hindering entrepreneurship and investment is invaluable. Doing Business could become that tool, but only if its supporters resist the urge to become defensive in the face of criticism and instead embrace the changes that are needed to make Doing Business a tool fit for purpose.