States and Markets


Private markets are the engine of economic growth, creating productive jobs and generating higher incomes. Entrepreneurship is therefore essential to the dynamism of the modern market economy; tapping private sector initiative and investment for socially useful purposes is similarly critical for reducing poverty. The government has an essential role in regulating the market and providing services. States and markets statistics focus on private sector development, including entrepreneurship and finance; infrastructure development; and public policies and institutions that affect the economy. Many of these topics are also part of the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, Goal 9 deals with infrastructure, industrialization, and innovation; Goal 16 calls for peace, justice, and strong institutions; and Goal 17 promotes partnerships for global development.

What types of data are available?

States and markets data measure the quality of the business environment, financial system development, transport infrastructure, ICT, science and technology, government, and policy performance; they also cover conditions in fragile countries. For instance, data users can look at the time required to start a business, for both men and women, and the delay in obtaining an electrical connection.

Central to well-functioning markets, access to finance can expand opportunities: greater access to and use of banking services are associated with fewer financing obstacles for people and businesses. Measures of access to finance, such as share of poor with an account at a financial institution or density of ATMs, are available in the online database, along with many other indicators on this topic.

Similarly, new information and communications technologies (ICT) offer vast opportunities for progress in all aspects of life, from economic growth, improved health, and better service delivery to learning through distance education and social and cultural advances. Users can see the steady global and country increases in the share of individuals using the internet or in mobile cellular subscriptions. Also essential to firm activity, trade, and human development generally, transport and the services that flow from it are crucial to the activities of households, producers, and governments. Air transport data show the upward trend in both the number of air passengers and the volume of air freight.

But markets do not operate in a vacuum. A stable and peaceful political environment is essential to sustained and inclusive economic growth. Here, data seekers can examine trends in central government finances, such as the amount of taxes collected, the profit tax level, or information about military spending and military personnel. Not surprisingly, good statistical capacity is essential for measuring aspects of development and for all evidence-based decision-making.

A selection of relevant indicators is presented below. The table shows, for each featured indicator, time coverage per year, for all countries, for each decade since the 1960s, and regional coverage for each World Bank geographical region since 2010. For detailed thematic lists please refer to the World Development Indicators Statistical Tables.