Doing Business, Legal Origins Theory, Immanent Critique, Law and Development, Politics of Development Knowledge
This article uses the World Bank’s Doing Business project to illuminate the politics of “governance by knowledge.” It synthesizes scholarship critiquing the project’s legitimacy and contributes to research challenging the instrumental benefits of improved Doing Business performance. The article’s major contribution is an immanent critique of Legal Origins Theory, which was developed largely to provide ex post validation for the project’s core claims, but whose premises, when taken seriously, lead to conclusions that contradict its “one-size-fits-all” logic. The article demonstrates much can be learned about the politics of development by engaging rationalizations of power on their own terms.
Liam McHugh-Russell, “Doing Business Guidance, Legal Origins Theory, and the Politics of Governance by Knowledge,” [forthcoming in Canadian Journal of Development Studies/ Revue canadienne d'études du développement 2022).