Chilean officials are fuming over an annual World Bank report called “Doing Business” that sharply decreased its competitiveness rating from 34 to 55 over a four-year period. “What happened with the World Bank’s competitiveness rankings is very concerning,” wrote Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on her official Twitter account.
Her comments came after the World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, apologized for Chile’s slippage in the rankings during her time in office. The damage had already been done.
Bachelet also wrote that her government would request a full investigation from the World Bank's ranking system, noting that such a financial monitoring apparatus “should be trustworthy, since they impact investment and countries’ development.”
Economy Minister Jorge Rodriguez Grossi said in a statement that “it is rare to see action this immoral,” adding that government officials “hope it is corrected quickly, but the damage is done.”
Romer, for his part, apologized to Chile for alterations to the report’s methodology that he said “conveyed the wrong impression” about national business activities under Bachelet, according to the Wall Street Journal.
He reiterated that Chile's decline in the rankings had nothing to do with the country's business environment, rather methodological changes implemented in the ranking system, promising to update the report.
Factors such as the ease of starting a business, obtaining credit, paying taxes and getting construction permits are calculated in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” ranking.
In light of Romer's concerns, the financial institution has promised to “conduct an external review” of Chile's indicators, according to Reuters.