June 26, 2018 Print

Business owners in Slovakia spend 164 hours annually navigating the country’s daunting regulatory web. That number comes from the Institute of Economic and Social Studies’s (INESS) latest Bureaucracy Index. Since its start in 2006, INESS has advocated for more economic competition in Slovakia. For years, this Atlas Network partner has been utilizing competitiveness indices to support its arguments for regulatory changes in the country.

“While [previous] rankings get decent exposure from our media and certain respect from politicians, they are not always a good fit for our advocacy,” said Richard Durana, INESS’ director. “They offer a good top-down look at the country, but lack the perspective of the small entrepreneur and his daily operations. We wanted to go down to the level of every single particular regulation, rule, and paper. Therefore, we decided to create our own index: the Bureaucracy Index.”

Read more information on adapting the Bureaucracy Index to your country.

INESS launched the Bureaucracy Index in 2016. Its principle is simple; the index tracks the time cost of all duties. These include dozens of activities, like regular reporting to tax and social/health insurance authorities, health and safety regulations, work-time scheduling records, environmental reporting, and many others. Time cost is assigned to these duties based on interviews with experts and surveys among entrepreneurs. INESS publishes the results each year on September 29, the birthday of Ludwig von Mises (the Austrian school economist and author of Bureaucracy).

“We hope to establish this day as the International Bureaucracy Day, where everybody is reminded of the lost time, money, and happiness due to bureaucracy,” continued Durana. “It has drawn large media attention both in 2016 and 2017, when we released a 200-meter-long paper ‘snake’ on the streets of the capital of Slovakia.”


The bureaucratic snake slithers through Bratislava.

In the 2017 edition of the Bureaucracy Index, the Institute for Market Economics and the Liberalni Institut partnered with INESS to create rankings for Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, respectively. INESS is currently seeking other partners to adapt the index to their own countries. Benefits of partnership include:

  • Distilling red tape into a single number, which can be communicated easily and help you in your policy advocacy efforts.
  • Providing a structured database of all bureaucratic duties for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in any chosen country. This database can help organizations track changes in the country or serve as a useful tool for prospecting small entrepreneurs.
  • Functioning as a great networking tool with business leaders.
  • Fundraising, which is the foundation of your competitiveness advocacy efforts.
  • Enabling international comparison of the results.

Should you like to learn more, contact INESS directly at martin.vlachynsky@iness.sk.