World Bank taking steps to boost research integrity after data rigging scandal

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WASHINGTON (Businesshala) – The World Bank is taking steps to rebuild the credibility of its research after a data-rigging scandal forced the cancellation of its major “Doing Business” report on the country’s business climate, said the bank’s president, David Malpass said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: World Bank President David Malpass attends the “1+6” roundtable at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China November 21, 2019. Businesshala / Florence Low / File photo

Speaking to reporters ahead of the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund this week, Malpass said strong research products are a high priority for the bank and that it will work on new ways to help countries improve their business environments. will gain help in.

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Asked how the bank would rebuild its credibility after the scandal, Malpass Bank had taken “several steps” to improve research integrity, including the elevation of chief economist Carmen Reinhart to a role in senior management.

Malpass declined to answer questions on the IMF’s executive board’s review of the World Bank’s external investigation report, which alleged that IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva changed data in favor of China in the Doing Business report in 2017. She was the CEO of the Bank when she was the CEO of the World Bank.

The IMF board was to reconsider on Monday whether he should continue as leader of the IMF.

The same investigation report by law firm WilmerHale found that World Bank employees altered data to boost Saudi Arabia’s “Doing Business” ranking in October 2019 – six months after Malpass took over the bank’s top job – but There was no evidence of bank involvement in this. The office of the chairman or members of the board.

Malpass did not give details of other steps the bank was taking to enhance its research work, but said Reinhart would be a senior chairman and one of the World Bank Group’s top 10 executives responsible for policy and decision-making at the multilateral development lender. guides. .

“I really want to reinforce the importance of high-quality research and the bank’s ability to produce that research in high quantities,” Malpass said.

Current and former bank executives say “Doing Business”, which ranks the country’s business environment on measurements such as ease of navigating, financing availability and legal framework, was the bank’s most popular publication.

Initiated in 2003, “doing business” was widely used by private fund managers to assess a country’s risks and guide investment decisions, but countries regularly tried to explain this to researchers. That’s why they deserve a higher ranking.

Malpass said that helping countries improve their business environments is “critical for development” and a priority for the World Bank, so it will help countries expand their private sectors and promote good business practices. Will work on new ways of doing it. However, he did not provide any details about what those plans might include.

Reporting by Andrea Schallal and David Lauder; Editing by Dan Grebler

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