Bright Lights, Big City

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Prague A recent study by Mastercard indicates that many cities in emerging markets are moving up in the rankings of the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index (Hat tip: FT). The index ranks 75 cities based on data that cover everything from the ease of doing business to livability. This is the second year Mastercard has produced this index, and London and New York are once again in the first two slots. However, China accounted for five of the cities that made it into the rankings, and India contributed another three. Latin America boasted seven cities in the rankings. Eastern Europe merited the inclusion of six cities, with Prague (pictured) ranked highest for that region.

The authors of the study don’t provide much information on the methodology they have developed to rank cities. However, it's clear they’ve taken a page out of the IFC playbook and incorporated measures of the ease of doing business. The authors have made a few modifications to the Doing Business methodology. Both the Mastercard and Doing Business indexes contain ten indicators; six from the Mastercard index match the Doing Business index. However, the Mastercard index also includes measures for conventions, banking services, ease of entry/exit, and corporate tax bundles. At least one of these has a close equivalent in the Doing Business index—“corporate tax bundles” are presumably measuring something similar to “paying taxes.” It seems the main addition are measures for the quality of services available for banking and holding conventions and business meetings. In other words, Mastercard has not gone too far astray from the methodology developed by IFC. 


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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