2014 Rank: 4
Change From 2013 Rank: None
The Doing Business authors take a shot across the bow of Americans who promote small government as an end in itself. The report contends that governments with higher spending relative to gross domestic product perform better. "[T]here is no evidence suggesting that economies that do well on Doing Business indicators tend to have governments driven by a 'smaller government' philosophy. Indeed, the data suggest otherwise."
The U.S. finishes strong overall but breaks the top 10 in just two of the report's 10 categories: access to credit and investor protections.
Taxation remains the biggest hurdle for small and medium-size businesses, requiring an average of 11 payments per year and taking more than 46 percent of profits. The filing process can take 175 hours a year on average -- a significant decline since 2008. It ranks 64th in this category, between Iraq and Cambodia.
Left: Looking up at the Chrysler building from East 42nd Street, in New York City.
Special Report: A New World of Risk