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The Role of the Business Ombudsman in Retaining Investment in Georgia

August 27, 2019


Georgia Revenue Service

Photo : Ahmed Mushfiq Mubarak.

Policy Issue:

Governments around the world are keen to become more “business friendly,” but have little guidance on specific interventions that will promote firm investment and growth. There is little empirical evidence on the effect of government services on firms’ perceptions of the business climate, their investment choices, and firm growth.

We hope to contribute to the body of knowledge on how institutions affect decisions made by firms by evaluating one specific government institutional innovation, the Business Ombudsman (BO), in Georgia. The BO is an independent office within the government that firms can turn to if they have disputes with other parts of the government bureaucracy. The BO helps firms by providing legal advice, written opinions and by advocating for firms within the government ministries.

This study aimed to understand which services the BO can provide beyond those provided by law firms in the private market. One group of firms would receive all of BO’s services, the “Business as Usual” treatment, including informal advocacy, while another group will receive a limited set of services, the “Legal Services” treatment, that does not include advocacy.

Take-up Pilot and Suspension:

The study was suspended based on the results of a pilot to assess the take up of the services to be evaluated. After trying out several different strategies to engage firms with relevant problems to participate in this pilot, the team concluded that it was not feasible to implement the study. The main problem making the study infeasible was the difficulties of recruiting firms with problems that are within the scope of the BO’s expertise. More details are provided in the pilot report.


Design Brief

Study methodology

Pilot report


Ana Goicoechea, Senior Economist, The World Bank

Aneesh Mannava, Research Analyst, The World Bank

Martin Mattsson, PhD Candidate, Yale University

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics, Yale University

Funding Partners:

World Bank Competitiveness Policy Evaluation Lab