PricewaterhouseCoopers has released the initial results of research prepared by a team of economists under the auspices of the PwC Endowment for the Study of Transparency and Sustainability. The Opacity Index, an analytical model developed by this group, will provide guidance to policy makers and business leaders who are considering the economic impact of international business development.
Opacity, for purposes of this model, is defined as the lack of "clear, accurate, formal, and widely-accepted practices." Potential borrowers will be able to use this index to determine the borrowing costs and foreign investment obstacles imposed by the opacity in the following areas:
- Legal protections for business
- Macro-economic policies
- Corporate reporting
- Government regulations
The initial report includes results of studies of the opacity factor in 35 countries. It is projected that results will be published within 18 months for most of the world's significant economies.
The report looks at the impact of opacity from the perspective of its impact as a form of hidden corporate tax as well as the risk premium present when countries borrow through sovereign bond issuance. Besides the report providing information to potential investors, developing countries will be able to study the results of this report and take actions to decrease their opacity factor, which may stimulate international investment.
An analysis and the complete report are available at the PricewaterhouseCoopers web site.